Speakeasy bars were the in-thing during the Prohibition Era, basically a secret bar, where in order to get in you’d have to use a password, or be denied entry. Today, they’ve been making a comeback, offering the opportunity to relive the period, without the fear of raids.
Like the speakeasies of the Roaring Twenties, these “hidden gems” so to speak are still somewhat a secret, usually not advertised, and sometimes even requiring a password or a call from a phone located near the entrance. They offer lots of nostalgia and historic ambiance that channels the era, often with vintage decor, classic cocktails and a sense of exclusivity.
If you’d like to experience a speakeasy bar in Seattle, we’ve narrowed the detective work down for you to scoop out the very best options.
Needle and Thread
A bar within a bar, the Needle and Thread is set inside the Tavern Law. You’ll need reservations, and when you get there, to gain access to the speakeasy upstairs, you’ll have to use the antique rotary phone to call. When you step inside, you’ll find a cozy, intimate space with 1920s decor, which includes a flask that was reportedly once owned by Houdini himself, as well as ’20s music. The bartenders are there to create a customized concoction just for you, so all you need to do is tell them what your favorite liquors are.
Knee High Stocking
This tiny bar that sits along Olive Way in Capitol Hill has only a very discreet sign and a doorbell. Don’t ring it unless you have a reservation, which can be made by test only. Once you enter, the doorman will pull back the velvet drapes, which feels a bit like stepping back in time. The man room is lit by antique chandeliers and the skilled bartenders will craft unique libations like the Painkiller or the Laura Palmer, for you “Twin Peaks” fans.
Bathtub Gin and Company
Tucked away in a Belltown neighborhood alleyway, this Seattle speakeasy has been called a best kept secret within a secret. It has a sign, but it’s difficult to see until you actually get to the wooden door of the bar, which is housed within a converted apartment. It contains a main floor as well as a small basement with a few tables, and an antique bathtub. While it is hidden away, the real secret is the amazing specialty concoctions – don’t expect to order a vodka soda or a margarita – all served in a dimly lit, intimate atmosphere.
Percy’s and Co.
Percy’s is not all that hard to find, located just a block or so from the Sunday Ballard Farmer’s Market in a building that’s been a bar since at least the 1940s. It serves “apothecary-style” cocktails at fairly affordable prices, a rarity in this city. The artisanal drinks are created with herbal infusions and tart shrubs, many of which come right from the rooftop herb garden, served in a comfortable vintage atmosphere with cushy booths. The soulful hip-hop sounds that are piped through are the one more modern concession.