Speakeasies first became prominent during the prohibition era as top-secret establishments began illegally serving alcohol. Today, Philadelphia is home to dozens of under-the-radar bars and breweries known as speakeasies.
So, where can you find these places? And how do you get in? We’ve rounded up everything you need to know about the secret nightlife scene in Philadelphia.
Here’s the scoop…
Photo Credit: Hop Sing Laundromat
1. Hop Sing Laundromat
Located in Chinatown, Hop Sing Laundromat might just be Philly’s worst kept secret due to its growing popularity. This speakeasy was named one of the greatest bars in the world and has two rules:
- No talking on cell phones
- No use of photography, video, or recording devices of any kind
If you disobey either of these rules, you will be added to the list of thousands of banned patrons. You’ll need your ID and vaccine card to get into this cash-only establishment.
Where: 1029 Race Street
Getting In: You’ll see a black gate. Approach it and ring the buzzer.
When: Friday and Saturday nights
Photo Credit: Blind Barber
2. Blind Barber
Step through an operating barber shop to reach this 70s inspired speakeasy! Enjoy specialty cocktails, a selection of wine and beer, light bites, and zero-proof beverage options. Blind Barber also offers a happy hour from 5-8pm every day.
Where: 1325 Sansom Street
Getting In: Head to the unmarked door in the back of the barber shop.
When: Monday-Saturday, 4 pm-close
Photo Credit: Fermentery Form
3. Fermentery Form
Fermentery Form is serving up an ever-changing selection of fermented beers. Located in West Kensington, this brewery is known for being unpredictable. They also host a variety of vendors so you can enjoy snacks like focaccia bread, pie, and pizza.
Where: 1700 Palethorp Street
Getting In: Head into the alleyway. If the light is on, that means it’s open.
When: By announcement. Find out when they’re open next by following their Instagram.
Photo Credit: The Ranstead Room
4. The Ranstead Room
Owned by Philly-legend Stephen Starr (the mind behind Parc, Barclay Prime, The Love, Talula’s Garden, El Vez, and MORE), this sophisticated speakeasy is serving up a creatively curated selection of specialty cocktails. The Ranstead Room makes nearly every list of best cocktail bars in the city and it’s no surprise why!
Where: 2013 Ranstead Street
Getting In: Head down the alleyway and look for a black door that says RR or dine at El Rey and ask to be escorted through the kitchen to reach the speakeasy.
When: Wednesday-Saturday, 7pm-2am
Photo Credit: Aidan Loughran
5. Franklin Mortgage and Investment Company
Located in the Franklin Hotel near Rittenhouse Square, this bar (with a misleading title) is completely unmarked. Enjoy creative cocktails and light bites in a trendy atmosphere.
Where: 1715 Latimer Street
Getting In: Find the bouncer. Having trouble? Call 267-892-4557.
When: Sunday-Thursday, 5pm-12am; and Saturday 5pm-2am
Photo Credit: Insomnia Cookies
BONUS: Insomnia CookieLab
This isn’t your traditional speakeasy, but the East Passyunk location of Insomnia Cookies has a hidden room where you can try mouth-watering, secret menu items! Visit the CookieLab Instagram to get the secret password of the month and join the fun.
Where: 833 Wharton Street
Getting In: Approach the bookshelf and say the secret password of the month.
When: Monday-Thursday, 4pm-1am; Friday and Saturday 12pm-1am; and Sunday 12pm-12am.