Behind the popular gourmet burger bar, The Butcher, there's a secret space, a hidden speakeasy-style amazing bar. You’ll need a reservation in advance if you want to get in to the inner sanctum. Find the door at the back of the restaurant, ring the buzzer and wait. Once they let you inside you'll find yourself in a hip, low-lit space full of elegant green bar stools around a central counter. The cocktail list includes eleven signature drinks as well as an on-trend range of barrel-aged top cocktails and a selection of punches designed to be shared. House tipples include things like the Spicy Crusta, a mix of gin, St. Germain elderflower liqueur, Zuidam orange, lemon juice, and Butcher syrup #5 which is served with a small side dish of caramelized orange and lemon peel.
Buck and Breck (Berlin, Germany)
This one-room bar in Mitte is on the tiny side with a capacity of just 14, but its compact size is just part of its charm. In true speakeasy style the entrance is somewhat hidden (it's located next to a police station and masquerades as a storage space) and you'll need to ring the doorbell to get inside. (Tip: while the external façade may change from time to time, the discreet buzzer says 'Bar'.) The seating is all focused around the room-dominating bar, while the interior is sleek, elegant and understated, softly lit and pared down with well-chosen art on the walls. Their signature drink, the Buck & Breck cocktail, is a potent thing, the recipe of which dates back to the 19th century; the bar itself, though, is very much a thing of the 21st century.
The Union(Copenhagen, Denmark)
The Union takes its inspiration from the speakeasies of New York under Prohibition. While it's hardly the most original of themes and ideas, it's executed with care. The Union takes some finding, hidden away down a residential street behind an unmarked black door - to enter, you'll need to ring the buzzer, wait to be let in, and then head down the stairs. Once inside you'll find a low-lit and suitably atmospheric space with a pressed tin ceiling, bare brick walls and a soundtrack of smooth jazz and blues tunes. The bar is well stocked with some 50 different spirits and the dapper, international bowtie-sporting bartenders are skilled and experienced in mixing the classic cocktails of the American golden age. The cocktails are well executed and well-presented and, if you're lucky, they might even let you in the even more secretive hidden bar upstairs, called The Bureau.
Door 74 (Amsterdam, Netherlands)
Photo source: stijlmeisje.com
The world is not short of Prohibition era, 1920s-style bars. But perhaps because of the focus such bars place on the quality of their drinks, the best examples of this breed still feel fresh and exciting. Door 74 is case in point. Hidden away and easy to overlook, this bar boasts an attractive dark-wood dominated art deco interior and prides itself on quality cocktails. There's no cover charge or off-putting 'face control', customers are just expected to 'behave like gentlemen and ladies.' So with that in mind you can choose between a cooling rye and ginger ale, a 74 Cobbles with white wine and elderflower or a White Zombie Doctor with a killer slug of slivovitz.
Mercy Brown (Krakow, Poland)
Photo source: worldbestbars.com
Mercy Brown is located underneath the Smakolyki restaurant, and you can only gain access if you find the secret entry (hint, look in the wardrobe). Once inside, you are transported to a vintage era of style and elegance, with chandeliers and frilly lampshades and plush velveteen couches, golden drapes, and dim candlelight before you. Behind the bar, antique glasses, stirrers, and old-fashioned vaporisateurs await alongside a staff that concocts wonderful renditions of classics with assorted twists. Just a few examples include the Tea Time - gin, jasmine tea cordial, and elderflower liqueur - and a Breakfast Fizz - gin, cardamom, apricot, sparkling wine, and lemon.
The Jerry Thomas Project(Rome, Italy)
Photo source: vanityfair.com
The bar is a speakeasy-style space - to gain access to the hallowed space you're going to need a password which changes every two weeks. Once you've made it inside you'll find yourself in an atmospheric bar, a handsome classic, red-walled space filled with elegant cream sofas and rich, dark wood, with the obligatory piano in the corner and a very well-stocked back-bar. Many of the bartenders sport dapper, era-appropriate moustaches a nice touch. Details count here, as evidenced by the quality of the drinks. The focus here is on pre-Prohibition drinks, perhaps not surprisingly, but they're also interested in forgotten Italian spirits. They do a spot-on Sazerac and a flaming Blue Blazar, a Jerry Thomas staple.
6 Cocktails (Warsaw, Poland)
Photo source: fpiec.pl
A covert "social club", entrance to 6 Cocktails can only be garnered by emailing the staff beforehand and being sent an invitation. Then you must arrive at the address, press the bell beside a big wrought-iron entrance gate and wait to be buzzed in. Inside, the interior of 6 Cocktails is just as understated as its entrance, but what this apartment bar lacks in terms of decor, it more than makes up for in creative cocktails, whipped up by a team of passionate and knowledgeable bartenders. Served in unique glassware, the cocktails at 6 Cocktails are constantly being updated and improved, but often include popular favorites like the Torino Sour (gin and Italian aperitif) and the Hot Lucy (gin, fresh coriander and ginger), along with house party staples like passionfruit Jello shots.
BONUS: Lulu White (Paris, France)
Photo source: thetouristinparis.com
Lulu White takes its name from a real life New Orleans character, the madam of Mahogany Hall, a notorious brothel in the city’s evocatively named Storyville district. Cocktail crawlers come here in search of “L’Heure Verte” and an inventive absinthe infused menu of classic drinks with a twist care of Mark Scott, formerly of Hyde & Co in the UK. A traditional absinthe fountain takes pride of place on the bar in the handsome atmospheric room, all black leather chairs, intimate booths and mosaic-tiled walls. Both décor and drinks are creative, there’s an appealing musical backdrop of swing, jazz and electronic French music. Make sure you try their take on the Sazerac, the New Orleans staple - the Knock On Wood is a mix of French brandy, réserve jean de lillet, salt syrup, Peychauds bitters and, of course, a dash of absinthe.