Washington DC is full of amazing hidden bars and speakeasies that pair delicious cocktails, intimate dining options, and moody vibes. Many of the best speakeasies in DC are located behind hidden doors and unmarked entrances that add an air of mystery and intrigue. This guide will help you identify the best secret lounges and bars in the nation’s capital.
What Are The Best Speakeasies In DC You’ve Never Heard Of?
- Tilt Side Bar
- Silver Lyan
- The Alex Craft Cocktail Cellar & Speakeasy
7. The Alex Craft Cocktail Cellar & Speakeasy
The images that come to mind when one hears the word “speakeasy” are brought to life at The Alex Craft Cocktail Cellar & Speakeasy. Located in The Graham Georgetown hotel, this underground bar is heavily influenced by the 1920s prohibition-era speakeasies, with various modern twists throughout the space.
The space itself is dimly lit with warm, white light. A color palette of gold, red, and gray is juxtaposed against crystal light fixtures and chunks of exposed brick walls. The overall vibe is cozy and posh, matching the swanky vibes of the hotel that hosts it.
The bartenders serve a plethora of classic and signature craft cocktails, each beautifully prepared. Have you ever had a cocktail served in a tiny porcelain clawfoot tub? You can here. There is no limit to drinks that you can order here. They also have a variety of shared plates for when the night grows long, and hunger takes over.
The space is small, and you can arrange reservations to ensure a seat either at the bar or in the lounge area. However, you will need a special code to get in the door.
We would be remiss if we didn’t include 600T on our list of the best-hidden bars in DC. This innovative spot is run by passionate professionals that believe in creating authentic, tasty drinks made with locally sourced, organic ingredients.
The decor at 600T is a mixture of vibrant artwork, brick walls, wooden furniture, and a cozy fireplace. The entire space has an intimate vibe, perfect for dates or hangouts with friends.
They provide a wide range of classic and seasonal drinks featuring house-made cordials, top-quality spirits, and more. Guests can enjoy a variety of unconventional martinis, premium whiskeys at the whiskey bar, gin, tonics, wine, and beer. Traditionalists can order their favorite beverages, including Daiquiris, Rickeys, and Negronis.
After a couple of drinks, guests can order snacks like popcorn, mixed nuts spiced with coconut, maple, rosemary, or smoked paprika, as well as their award-winning sweet potato donuts.
600T also hosts events and entertainment, including live jazz nights. They also celebrate repeal day, honoring the end of the prohibition era with craft cocktail flights and discounted drinks.
Reservations are required.
Beneath the Eaton Hotel library sits Allegory, a unique bar decorated with incredible works of art. The entire space combines social justice, literature, and excellent drinks in a room with a moody and cozy art deco vibe.
The walls of Allegory are large, realistic illustrations that depict Ruby Bridges traveling through Alice’s Wonderland. On one wall, Ruby brandishes a sword to take down a slithering Jabberwock, and on another, she approaches a sharply contrasting chessboard populated by animals and creatures alike. The rich artwork complements the dark walls, sumptuous furniture, and deep-red lined booths.
At Allegory, the master mixologists craft classic drinks and creative cocktails using specialty techniques that elevate every sip. The drinks have names like “Mad as a Hatter” and “The Queen’s Gambit,” while the cocktail menu features black and red sketches of Ruby Bridges and the animals of Lewis Carroll’s imaginary world. Personalized cocktails are also on the menu.
Reservations aren’t required to drink at Allegory. However, they do seat on a first-come, first-serve basis.
Serenata‘s menu features craft cocktails inspired by Latin American heritage. In Spanish, the name Serenata means “serenade,” and the overall vibe inside this DC speakeasy is just that. A rhythmic, romantic experience that takes guests through the many vibrant cultures represented.
The mixologists at Serenata combine their cultural knowledge with world-class cocktail techniques. They utilize spirits from Latin American countries and delightful tropical fruits. As a result, each artfully prepared cocktail is an adventure.
The space is as unique as the drinks they serve. They have a variety of private tables around their well-lit bar and an outdoor cantina bar. They also have a beautiful heated patio for outdoor drinks during the cooler months.
In addition to being a great place to hang out and drink with friends or your partner, Serenata is also a place where visitors can learn to make craft cocktails. The speakeasy hosts weekly and private cocktail classes.
Online reservations are required to snag a seat at Serenata.
3. Silver Lyan
The Silver Lyan is a cocktail bar located downstairs of the Riggs Washington DC hotel. The hotel was a bank early in its life, and the speakeasy currently exists inside the old bank vault.
The bar is decorated in richly-colored velvet, shades of red, and dark woods, giving it both a grand and warm vibe.
The Silver Lyan is known for its unique take on classic cocktails. They crafted each of their most popular drinks, like the Japanese Saddles or the Project Apollo, by examining stories and histories of immigrants as well as major cultural events. Each cocktail is a colorful concoction that is as beautiful to look at as it is tasty.
The expert mixologists at Silver Lyan take pride in using high-quality ingredients to strengthen and enhance the flavors of the spirits they serve.
2. Tilt Side Bar
Tilt Side Bar is a funky and colorful spot located behind an unmarked door at Black Jack. This bar is a space to partake in fruity and tropical cocktails with names like Suggering Bastard, Painkiller, and Mezacallaita. You can even share some of their cocktails.
Unlike some of the other hidden speakeasies in DC, Tilt Side Bar is a neon-lit bar with colorful pop arts and cartoons from the 80s covering the bar in an eclectic collage. The walls are covered in funky decorations and artwork that transport guests back to the days of big hair and pinball machines.
Whether you end up at Tilt Side Bar after a meal at a neighboring restaurant or spend the evening here, you will be sure to have a fun night.
The OKPB Cocktail Lounge is located on Mt. Pleasant Street NW above a dentist’s office. To get to this underground speakeasy, you will follow a set of stairs down to a secret bell. Guests ring the bell and must wait to be escorted up to the bar by a host dressed in a suit and tie.
The unique hidden bar is a dimly lit space that features an expansive playlist of moody jazz, exposed brick walls, and funky wallpaper. The space is intimate, with no party larger than six allowed per room.
They serve up to five cocktails a night, alongside the “bartender’s choice.” The menu is written down on a piece of yellow memo paper nightly. In addition, they serve their cocktails in chilled glassware and hand-process large blocks of ice. They also build their drinks with hand-juiced fruit.
Of course, there are several other underground speakeasies in DC to note. Our special mentions include Left Door and The Backroom at Capo Deli.
Located at 1345 S Street NW in the 14th Street Corridor are two doors. Open the door on the left and follow the stairs up to Left Door, an unpretentious bar with knowledgeable and friendly mixologists serving up classic cocktails with unique twists.
The Backroom at Capo Deli
Located in the backroom at Capo’s, the bar and lounge area are aptly named. This upscale secret bar is a lively spot that features live concerts and famous DJs, comfy, modern seating areas in shades of silver and gray, and an expansive menu featuring classic and craft cocktails. It also has a glorious chandelier hanging above the lounge area, which will take your breath away.
Let’s take a look at some of the most commonly asked questions regarding DC speakeasies.
How many speakeasies are in DC?
There are currently 14 official speakeasies and hidden lounges located in Washington DC.
Are there any real speakeasies left?
Although the 18th Amendment has long been repealed and the need for speakeasies went along with them, there are still plenty of real speakeasies left.
How do I get into The Mirror speakeasy?
One of the most hidden speakeasies in Washington DC is The Mirror, formerly known as The Speak. The Mirror sits beneath an abandoned storefront and down a flight of stairs. At the bottom of the stairs, a large mirror hangs on the wall. Pull down the mirror to reveal a secret door and enter the dimly lit 55-seat bar.