Los Angeles local

LA's Coolest Clandestine Cocktails


Speakeasy but Drink Hard in LA

	The Varnish.

Comments  (2)

Sep 10, 2012 —  For more than thirteen years beginning in late 1919, the 18th Amendment banned the sale and transportation of alcoholic beverages throughout the United States.

It was known as Prohibition. And it was a dark time – seriously, like literally every photo from that period looks totally black and white – but true to their resourceful nature, many Americans refused to be denied what they felt was a god-given right to booze.

Sometimes great things come from bad decisions, and in this case Prohibition gave rise to speakeasies: refined hidden drinking dens that proffered high-quality bootleg beverages and regularly hosted seriously raucous parties.

Lawmakers – many of them regulars at these establishments – finally came to their senses in 1933, and one would have thought the speakeasy trend would have suffered a quick death as a result. Yet 80+ years later, there are still Los Angeles speakeasies up and running all across this great city.

Maybe it's because there’s something inherently cool in retro-styled bars; the kinds that often have no sign and still require a password to get in, and where vest- and flapper-clad bartenders make a mean classic the way it was intended to be made.

True, some are just poor, hastily designed copies of their vintage brethren, but we’ve picked out a few favorites that still manage to feel authentic – from the drinks list to the reclaimed furnishings to the universal embodiment of a bygone era.

Pull up a chair and turn back the clocks, friends. The LA speakeasy is waiting, and it isn’t going anywhere.

  • 1

    The Varnish

    Bar / Speakeasy

    The Varnish - Bar | Speakeasy in Los Angeles.

    118 East 6th Street
    Los Angeles, CA 90014


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  • 2

    Basement Tavern


    Basement Tavern - Speakeasy in Los Angeles.
    Santa Monica / Westside

    2640 Main Street
    Santa Monica, CA 90405


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  • 3

    The Roger Room

    Bar / Speakeasy

    The Roger Room - Bar | Speakeasy in Los Angeles.
    Beverly Grove

    370 North La Cienega Boulevard
    Los Angeles, CA 90048


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  • 4

    Townhouse + The Del Monte Speakeasy

    Historic Bar / Live Music Venue / Speakeasy

    Townhouse + The Del Monte Speakeasy - Historic Bar | Live Music Venue | Speakeasy in Los Angeles.

    52 Windward Avenue
    Venice, CA 90291


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  • 5

    Next Door Lounge

    Restaurant / Speakeasy

    Next Door Lounge - Restaurant | Speakeasy in Los Angeles.

    1154 North Highland Avenue
    Los Angeles, CA 90038


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  • 6


    Lounge / Speakeasy

    Seventy7 - Lounge | Speakeasy in Los Angeles.
    Culver City

    3843 Main Street
    Culver City, CA 90232


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What are your favorite hidden spots in LA?

Paul F. Sep 10, 2012
Basement Tavern's secret - get there before 10pm or you'll be waiting in line for a while.
Chris M. Sep 10, 2012
Big fan of the Basement Tavern because it really has that speakeasy feel, even if it is not so much of a secret anymore.
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