Updated December 6, 2023 - 12:09 pm
There’s something about sub rosa spirits, down-low cocktails, sipping on the QT.
Hence the ongoing popularity of modern speakeasies, the descendants of hidden Prohibition-era establishments serving illicit hooch. The illicit part is long gone, but the hidden aspect remains. Not surprising, Las Vegas, a global destination for mixology, has some of the best modern speakeasies in the U.S.
Here seven spots celebrating secret pours. Knock knock. Password, please.
The Barbershop Cuts & Cocktails in The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas. Head past the boys enjoying evening trims to their beards (yes, this is a working barbershop), then look for the janitor’s door. Through the door, there’s a ritzy chandeliered space serving Spiked Juices (the menu designation for cocktails), shots, beer, and spirits by the bottle. A menu of light bites and snacks (try the mini lamb gyros) balances the buzz.
Chez Bippy in Luchini at the MGM Grand. Chez Bippy, the hangout in “A Bronx Tale,” the 1993 crime drama from Robert De Niro, lends its name to this bar within Luchini. From the restaurant, a brick portal lined with candy machines leads to a space with red velvet drapes, arched bronze mirrors, plush banquettes, a disco ball chandelier, and glowing fringed pendants above the bar. Have a go at the smoked Boulevardier with pepperoncini-infused vodka.
Easy’s Cocktail Lounge in Proper Eats food hall at Aria. Go to the Easy Donuts counter, then look closely at the sign. The smaller letters SPEAK are set between the larger letters EASY. The wordplay nods to the lounge hidden behind the doughnuts. The moody speakeasy features live music and several cocktails that are justly described as Show Stoppers. Consider a Heart of the Ocean built with tequila and served on sea shells, sand and blossoms. There’s also caviar service.
Here Kitty Kitty Vice Den in Fuhu Cha Chan Teng in Resorts World. Here Kitty Kitty Vice Den, which has one of the best names ever for a bar, takes seriously the hidden part of speakeasy. Blue shelves holding lucky golden cats with upraised paws (maneki neko) also double as the door to the bar. Inside, you’ll find a space inspired by Asian street art, with specialty cocktails and a host of spirits by the pour, including several Asian whiskies.
The Laundry Room in Commonwealth in downtown Vegas. You’ll need to make reservations at laundryroomlv.com because fewer than two dozen people are admitted (so bartenders can craft a top-notch cocktail outing). The Laundry Room lies beneath a stairwell. The name nods to its former life as the laundry room for El Cortez across the street. The speakeasy serves house cocktails; bartenders also mix drinks to taste. So, what can you make me with Cynar?
The Lock in The Cabinet of Curiosities at Horseshoe Las Vegas. First, reserve a table at thelocklv.com. When you arrive, pick up the vintage telephone beside the vault-style door, then tell the person who answers you have a reservation. The next steps for entering involve knocks, a password and codes, but there’s assistance if you need it. Ask the bartender to craft a cocktail based on your mood and preferences. There’s a VIP Room behind a painting in The Lock you can reserve, too.
Wax Rabbit in Mijo Modern Mexican Restaurant at Durango. Wax Rabbit debuted with the launch of the lavish property. Outside the speakeasy lies a vault with floor-to-ceiling tequila lockers; each sports a rabbit head above and below. Imbibers must pull the right rabbit to pass into the speakeasy, where they’ll find arched double-height mirrors and cocktails, like a Oaxacan old-fashioned, that harness the spirits and flavors of Mexico.