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Home » Chicago’s Best Hidden Bars and Speakeasies: A Guide to the City’s Secret Spots

Chicago’s Best Hidden Bars and Speakeasies: A Guide to the City’s Secret Spots

Chicago is renowned for its thrilling bar scene – but nestled among the hustle and bustle are some of the most remarkable hidden gems. Step inside these speakeasies and you’ll be transported to the Prohibition era! Here’s a guide to the city’s best-kept secrets.

As you enter the door, the dimly lit interiors and vintage decor give off a mysterious and exclusive aura. Each spot has its own unique theme or concept – from 1920s jazz clubs to underground whiskey lounges. The attention to detail creates an immersive experience like no other!

For a surprise, check out the speakeasy behind a hidden door in a hot dog joint. Inside, you’ll be surrounded by exposed brick walls adorned with vintage photos and memorabilia. Enjoy a nostalgic ambiance like no other!

Descend the stairs of a nondescript office building and you’ll find yourself in an exquisitely decorated space – like a sophisticated cocktail lounge straight out of The Great Gatsby. The expertly crafted drinks here are sure to tantalize even the most discerning palate.

For something truly unique, visit a speakeasy tucked away in a former bank vault. Here, you can sip artisanal cocktails and marvel at the preservation of this historic space.

Plan ahead to make your visit to these hidden bars and speakeasies a memorable one. Many require reservations due to their limited capacity. Get dressed up, embrace the atmosphere and experience the exclusivity and secrecy these hidden spots offer.

The History of Speakeasies in Chicago

Chicago’s speakeasies fascinate with their history. During Prohibition, these hidden bars provided an escape to enjoy the illegal booze away from watchful eyes. The city’s speakeasies had a special ambience of secrecy, with live jazz music and cozy settings.

The Prohibition wave swept Chicago in the 1920s and 1930s. Speakeasies were concealed in plain sight, disguised behind regular storefronts and secret entrances.

The notorious “blind pigs” were unique to Chicago’s speakeasy culture. They charged hefty fees to enter, and offered complimentary drinks to bypass the legality of selling alcohol. People loved the exclusivity and were willing to risk it all for a forbidden sip.

Some of Chicago’s speakeasy past remains. Hidden under the city’s streets, these hotspots wait for the brave to uncover them. Some have become businesses or bars, yet the allure still stands, taking visitors to a time when rebellion was the only way to party.

Experience the thrill of stepping into the past by going to Chicago’s hidden bars and speakeasies. Enjoy craft cocktails behind unmarked doors, live jazz music, and decor reminiscent of the 1920s. Revel in this secret world where history speaks from each corner, inviting you to join the ranks of those who dared to break the law for a taste of freedom.

The Rise of Hidden Bars in the City

Hidden bars in Chicago have been on the up! Offering a unique drinking experience for those ‘in the know’. They’re often tucked away behind unmarked doors, or disguised as something else. This has become a trend in the city’s nightlife scene.

Let’s check out the data! Here are some of these clandestine drinking spots:

Hidden Bar Name Location Theme
Revival Social River North Prohibition-era
The Drifter Ukrainian Village 1920s circus
The Violet Hour Wicker Park Art Deco
The Office West Loop Exclusive speakeasy

Each spot brings a unique atmosphere and theme. Revival Social takes you to the Prohibition era. The Drifter charms with its vintage circus concept. The Violet Hour offers an elegant Art Deco setting. The Office is exclusive.

But what sets hidden bars apart? Besides their secret nature, they take pride in creating artisanal cocktails. High-quality ingredients and innovative flavors. Quality over quantity allows guests to savor each sip and appreciate mixology.

Though hidden bars may seem modern, their roots date back to the Prohibition era. Speakeasies were born out of necessity. People turned to secret underground venues for a drink. Today’s hidden bars honor this history by recreating the ambiance of those illicit gatherings.

Top 10 Hidden Bars and Speakeasies in Chicago

Chicago’s nightlife scene offers a thrilling adventure waiting to be discovered! Are you ready to uncover the city’s hidden gems? Here are the top 10 bars and speakeasies that will make your night out one to remember:

  1. The Drifter: Hidden beneath Green Door Tavern, this spot takes you back to Prohibition with its vintage decor and live jazz music. Step in and sip classic cocktails while enjoying a mesmerizing performance.
  2. The Violet Hour: An unassuming facade hides a renowned speakeasy. Its atmosphere and expertly crafted cocktails make it an all-time favorite.
  3. Three Dots and a Dash: Enter an alleyway and step into a tropical paradise. Enjoy tiki cocktails served in unique vessels.
  4. The Office: Inside The Aviary, The Office is accessible only by invitation or reservation. Savor rare spirits and innovative cocktails crafted by award-winning mixologists.
  5. Scofflaw: Nominated as one of the best cocktail bars in America, this Old World charm spot has leather banquettes, dim lighting, and exceptional drinks.
  6. Bordel: Burlesque shows and jazz performances await you in this sultry speakeasy. Enjoy French-inspired cocktails and a Parisian ambiance.
  7. The Sixth: Above Tanta restaurant, The Sixth offers seasonal cocktails. Its cozy atmosphere and talented bartenders make it a must-visit.
  8. The Library at Gilt Bar: Behind a bookshelf, discover an intimate setting with a vast selection of spirits.
  9. The Heavy Feather: Above The Slippery Slope, this retro lounge offers classic recipes with a modern twist.
  10. Watershed: In the basement of Pops for Champagne, enjoy handcrafted whiskey cocktails in a rustic atmosphere.

Don’t miss out on the opportunity to experience Chicago’s hidden gems firsthand; they are sure to leave you with lasting memories you won’t forget. Gather your friends, put on your detective hat, and embark on a journey through the city’s secrets.

Tips for Finding and Enjoying Hidden Bars in Chicago

Exploring hidden bars in Chicago can be an exhilarating experience. Here are some tips to uncover them:

  • Check out alleys – Many secret bars are hidden away in alleys. Keep an eye out for unmarked doors or unobtrusive entrances.
  • Look for speakeasy-style establishments – Chicago is home to many Prohibition-era speakeasies, so look for venues that have a vintage feel.
  • Get word-of-mouth recommendations – The best way to find hidden bars is typically through local insiders, so don’t be afraid to ask bartenders or knowledgeable locals.
  • Be aware of secret codes or passwords – Some bars require patrons to know a specific password or enter through a secret entrance. Look out for clues.
  • Join a tour – If you’re new to Chicago or want guidance, consider joining a tour that focuses on discovering hidden bars and speakeasies in the city.

When you locate these concealed drinking spots, you’ll be rewarded with unique atmospheres and inventive cocktail menus.

Did you know? The Violet Hour, one of Chicago’s most popular secret bars, was listed in GQ magazine’s Top 10 Best Bars in America.

Conclusion: Explore Chicago’s Secret Spots, Enjoy the Hidden Bar Scene

Exploring Chicago’s secret bars and speakeasies is an exciting journey. Here are five points to think about:

  1. Atmosphere: Hidden gems have a mesmerizing atmosphere, with dim interiors and concealed entrances.
  2. Cocktails: Enjoy masterfully made drinks, crafted with creativity and class.
  3. Live Entertainment: Jazz bands and acoustic performances transport you to another time.
  4. Mixologists: Talented mixologists can whip up your favorite concoctions.
  5. Exclusivity: Elite experiences like membership-only clubs and secret codes.

Plus, uncover food menus and puzzles!

Long ago, during Prohibition-era Chicago, these spots were disguised as soda shops and funeral parlors. Unlock the doors and experience a night of clandestine indulgence. Enjoy Chicago’s hidden treasures and their vibrant atmospheres.

Frequently Asked Questions

FAQ 1: What are some of the best hidden bars and speakeasies in Chicago?

Answer: Some popular hidden bars and speakeasies in Chicago include The Violet Hour, The Office, The Drifter, The Berkshire Room, Three Dots and a Dash, and Slippery Slope.

FAQ 2: How can I find these hidden bars and speakeasies in Chicago?

Answer: Many of these hidden bars require some effort to find. You can start by researching online or using social media platforms to discover their locations and entry procedures. Some bars may have disguised entrances or require a password to get in.

FAQ 3: Are reservations required for these hidden bars and speakeasies?

Answer: Reservations are not always necessary, but it is recommended to check the specific bar’s policies. Some venues might have limited seating or strict entry policies, so reservations can ensure you have a spot.

FAQ 4: Are these hidden bars and speakeasies expensive?

Answer: Hidden bars and speakeasies in Chicago vary in price range. While some may have high-end craft cocktails with higher prices, others offer more affordable options. It’s best to check the menu or reviews in advance to get an idea of the pricing.

FAQ 5: Can I bring a large group or host a private event at these hidden bars?

Answer: Many hidden bars and speakeasies have limited space, so hosting large groups or private events may not always be possible. It is advised to contact the particular bar in advance to inquire about their group reservation policies.

FAQ 6: Are these hidden bars and speakeasies 21+ only?

Answer: Yes, all hidden bars and speakeasies in Chicago require guests to be at least 21 years old. They strictly adhere to legal drinking age restrictions and often require a valid ID for entry.

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