Whether you are heading to the big brilliant city of Chicago for business or pleasure you will definitely want to experience Chicago nightlife.
We’ve done the legwork and the sampling for you and uncovered 13 Hidden Chicago Speakeasies, where you’ll find everything from secret doors to fun cocktails or you might say, the best secret bars in Chicago!
Why You’ll Love The Secret Bars In Chicago
- The list of speakeasies in Chicago gives you a well-rounded 13 hidden bars to choose from
- Wicker Park Bars (secret bars) are located on this list as well and the area is just fun!
- Fantastic bars in the Loop (that you might not have considered)
- The Actual speakeasy bar names in Chicago and links to you can find more details!
- A suggestion to find out the best way to get to each of these hidden drinking dens
From the gleaming reflection of the southwestern shores of Lake Michigan as far as the eye can see, you are sure to become entranced with Chicago.
The city’s hustle and bustle remind you she’s away, bright-eyed, alert, and energetic so you should jump in and enjoy Chicago by both day and night!
Chicago boasts a foodie scene that is almost impossible to experience in just one trip and their night bar scene is pretty extravagant too!
However, the hidden Chicago speakeasies challenge and surpass the basic bar because hidden entrances are always more fun than just going to a bar and they are more exclusive often with specialized cocktails and famed craved, often sought after unique ambiance inside.
Plus, some of the hidden Chicago speakeasies, truly rival New York’s hidden drinking dens and actually may surpass, but you’ll be the judge!
Now get ready to celebrate Chicago nightlife, with live entertainment, Burlesque, salsa dancing, magic, and everything spirited classic drinks to Tiki drinks, while seeking secret entrances that will drive you crazy looking for them!
How Do I Navigate to These Fun Hidden Chicago Speakeasies?
If you have never been to the Windy City before, you will want to Use the Rome2rio website or app to help you navigate and plan your routes to any of the listed secret entrance speakeasies in Chicago and anywhere else you want to go in while in Chicago.
Not only will this make navigating very easy but the website/app also shares the approximate cost of travel to each of the hidden Chicago speakeasies, as well as transportation options from recommended cheapest, to fastest second-cheapest.
What are people saying about speakeasies in Chicago, IL?
Read at reviews from FourSquare to Yelp, you’ll find a lot of excitement about some of the new speakeasies in Chicago and some that have been there for a while.
There’s a positive buzz about the drinks, vibes, and easts in each of these Chicago speakeasies, making them quite alluring to experience at least once!
Plus, as a bonus, today we are sharing one Old Chicago speakeasy that truly was an old-time prohibition water hole, between the walls speakeasy, and is now an updated version of its old self!
Chicago’s River North Speakeasies
River North boasts a few of the best Chicago speakeasies and they are literally within a stone’s throw of each other. a
Consider this a bonus, or make it a quest for one night to venture out and find at least 3 hidden Chicago speakeasies within minutes of each other!
An original speakeasy from the ’20s offering a nice selection of drinks, and live music, this hidden Chicago speakeasy exists downstairs, behind a bookcase near the bathrooms inside a popular Green Door Taven restaurant.
There is live entertainment and over 100 different cocktails that are on a rotating basis and selected nightly when the bartenders draw from the deck of cocktail Tarot cards.
For those that love a gamble, pay $10, and pull a fortune cookie out of the Buddha, you’ll receive a drink that is not featured on the menu that night! You might just love what you pull!
40 seats are inside this Chicago speakeasy and it does get busy. To avoid the wait, you can make a reservation which is then credited towards your bar and food bill.
Entering Pops Champagne almost requires you to take a bit more time here, but to actually visit the Watershed Speakeasy below (right now it is temporarily closed!)
After all, once you are at Pops Champagne you’ve already navigated to the Watershed entrance area.
It’s known for great local beers, smooth Old-Fashioned, and other fabulous cocktails, and the fact that they actually spin vinyl records and you can request songs!
Three Dots and A Dash
Consider this stop the sweet spot of the hidden Chicago speakeasies, where the entrance is in an alley and the drinks are fresh, fruity, and strong!
Rejoice, as you’ve found the Chicago speakeasy that serves up the best Tiki drinks and craft cocktails.
In fact, the drinks may make you feel like you flew to the islands after a drink or two, but you never left Chicago!
To find this hidden speakeasy, head on over to the alley east of Clark St. and between Hubbard and Illinois.
Cocktails are created from fresh fruits and cold-pressed juice, which is what sets the bar so high and the drink prep is not skimpy on the spirits going in those drinks.
For the sweetest drink, and probably a mega hangover, try the Painkiller, or if you prefer Port Light which is a lightly sweet drink, yet it still knocks you off your feet and to the islands (well in your dreams!)
Bonus Points: Three Dots and A Dash hosts a Bamboo room within its cocktail bar, that offers a very focused drink array with cocktails that involve rum!
You don’t have to be a rum aficionado to go here, you just have to love trying fun cocktails on a deeper level!
Go in here if you love rum in every variation from Rhum Highballs to a Stirred Jet Pilot (you may not feel takeoff, lol!).
The Untitled Supper Club
Your secret speakeasy adventures begin when you enter through the large black unmarked doors on West Kinzie Street.
Welcome to a sprawling luxe 18,000 square foot venue below the streets of Chicago.
Both sophisticated and posh, offering multiple themed rooms, music, a dance floor, entertainment, and above-average cocktails it’s got something for everyone in your group.
If American Whisky is your thing, then heaven lies behind these doors as thishidden Chicago speakeasy claims to offer the largest selection of American Whiskies.
Even when the live entertainment (band) is not playing, the Burlesque act that takes over is just as engaging so there’s entertainment stacked on entertainment.
Reservations are strongly recommended.
Tucked away, inside the Gilt Bar, you are seeking The Library!
Enjoy a drink upstairs at The Gilt Bar and wait for the moment you can access The Library below.
To gain entrance to The Library you will travel through a long and narrow hallway and then enter through a door that looks just like the hallway.
While you work your way through the hallway you will see a lot of photobooth photos, which you might be adding too.
Inside is a photo booth so you can take a photo too and place it in the walkway!
Once inside, the recently renovated space, you’ll find lampshades with frills hanging for ambient lighting, and plush, comfortable booths, surrounded by encased bookshelves with reflective mirror walls, decorated with silver teaware, and a variety of tchotchke all lending to the speakeasy vibe.
Other seating includes comfortable bar seating and oversized wing chairs at tables.
Underground Cocktail Club
Luxe rose-colored speakeasy featuring live entertainment and 1920’s inspired drinks.
Inside you’ll find both a club and a lounge that connect, so you can choose your experience.
Décor to note is the color-changing upside-down parasols, plush couches, and the large palms situated around the club.
To gain entrance, you will be walking down a few flights of stairs inside the Boyce Building
Tip: to sit, reserve a table, and if you want to listen to the music, just head to the bar and order a drink, as there is an elevated stage at the bar which basically gives you the best view in the house.
The Hidden Chicago Speakeasies of Wicker Park
4 words “speakeasy Chicago Wicker Park’ that can give your nightlife a fun booster in the secret bars in Chicago!
With 3 great Speakeasy options in the Wicker Park area of Chicago, choosing which to visit might be harder than you would expect.
The good news about having options is that if the speakeasy is too busy, you can always try to get in at the other!
Good luck finding this Chicago Hidden Speakeasy that is both a cocktail bar and a cabaret venue.
Some of the secret entrance speakeasies in Chicago are a tough find and Bordel is one of those, but here’s how to access it so you can just go have fun!
This may be the funkiest set of stairs you will climb, as you head to the 2nd floor above the Mama Delia restaurant below.
You’ll experience a wild eye feast with cheetah print beneath your feet and a grass-like wall on one side, with some crazy wallpaper on the other, and a hanging ornate chandelier above, but once you get up the steps to the 2nd floor, you’ll gain entrance behind the green grass wall!
It’s the second floor up from the Mama Delia restaurant below and you gain entrance behind the green grass wall.
Try out a wine flight, or just wine, and be sure to grab a cheese tray, as they have a prominent and satisfying selection of each.
From Flamenco performances to a DJ and other entertainment in between, there are plenty of great shows to enjoy while you spend time here.
Here you’ll find live shows, optional reservations, strong, solid cocktails, and appetizers!
The Violet Hour
Hidden and a hard find, yet seeking out The Violet Hour is half the fun. First, make sure you are near the Big Star Cozy because this is right across the street!
For someone seeking out the best Chicago speakeasies, this truly is the hidden jewel you don’t want to miss.
Here is a hint, you are looking for a big graffiti wall for an entrance, that is so well disguised, that the handle even blends into the disguise. It’s literally hidden in plain sight, in front of your face, and you may realize it.
Once found, expect an elegant and cozy ambiance, a very efficient, staff, with strong artisan-like drinks crafted by an expert mixologist, while you sit back in tall leather chairs and sip to enjoy!
You’ll find an ever-evolving drink menu and fun named cocktails such as “The Art of Choke”, “Hunter Gatherer”, and “New Fangled” you get the idea.
Tip: Order a Side Car or a Que Paso, all with unique flavors.
Do note that the menu is ever-evolving and that the drinks are not watered-down cheap drinks.
Feeling hungry? The Hangover soup is a fabulous spin on breakfast ramen, and the sour cream and onion potato chips will leave you wanting to crunch more and sip one of their on-point old-fashioned cocktails.
Dorian’s Through The Record Shop
Chicago hidden speakeasies are all unique and Dorian’s Through the Record Shop continues with an intriguing entrance.
Walk into what appears to be a record shop and be greeted and escorted by a host to a room marked listening booth.
Once inside the listening booth, a hidden door within will open and provide entrance into the retro-vibe speakeasy tossing you into the ’70s and ’80s including vinyl records on the wall! Dimly lit bar area, with decent cocktails and music.
Tip: Try the Juicebox to split, you are going to like it!
Chicago Speakeasy in the Andersonville Neighborhood
In Cook County, and fabulous!
It’s both a suburban and an urban destination with a plethora of eateries, bars, and shopping, a must-visit destination, and within the area, an amazing hidden drinking den!
Chicago Magic Lounge
The magic begins when you find the entrance to this hidden Chicago speakeasy, which just offers a glimpse of a laundromat from the exterior.
Once you go through the doors, you’ll enter the façade of laundry machines and you must figure out which machines are the door (All this before a cocktail?)
This hidden Chicago speakeasy shares the magic and a side of cocktails, but might the magic be in the cocktails?
Call it a multiplex of a speakeasy, converging into a club-like atmosphere, topped off by entertainment that might make you question reality, or did you sip your way into old Chicago Magic?
The space formerly a 1940’s industrial laundry building, is now transformed into a sprawling 7200 square feet, inclusive of a cabaret stage, the VIP access 654 Club, each with its own vibe providing a great night in Chicago.
Tips for best experiences here:
- Love magic? Purchase VIP access to the 654 clubs and experience a magician’s performance in a more personal setting.
- The front bar area offers fun magic and tasty cocktails, and a visit to the bathroom will definitely put the hat on the magic you feel!
Location: In the Andersonville Neighborhood
Speakeasies In the Chicago Loop (north and west)
If you are in the Chicago Loop, congratulations because you have found the heart (and heartbeat IMO as a former native Chicagoan) of the city!
A business district, shopping area, foodies paradise, and that is the shortlist and an incredible experience for everyone not to be missed, it would be like leaving the mint out of mint chocolate chip by not experiencing the area itself!
The area is Lake Michigan East, Ida B. Wells Drive (south), and the North and West of The Chicago River*
The Milk Room (north)
Limited to an 8-person capacity, this luxe, hidden speakeasy is worth the seek and find.
In its heyday, it was truly an old Chicago speakeasy, and now it is a new version of its old self!
Previous patrons suggest the sweetbread appetizer with whipped cheese spread if it is amongst the food offerings when you visit.
Reservations are accepted, but you need to make sure they mark your name off the reservation list once you arrive.
Location: Inside the Chicago Athletic Club on the 2nd floor (no doubt you will have to ask for some guidance while you are seeking it out or it would not be a Chicago Hidden Speakeasy!)
The Office – Speakeasy Chicago West Loop
A fun intimate Chicago speakeasy is hidden under the Aviary, and perfect for those who prefer spirit-based drinks because you really won’t find a wine menu.
Reservations are required as The Office offers only 14 seats so gaining access must be reserved.
The Office ambiance is dimly lit, with a curio cabinet filled with ‘vintage spirit bottles tagged and described’.
Your experience will include a more sophisticated experience with light background music, a pro mixologist, and offerings of swanky, luxe-priced dusty bottle cocktails to match the ambiance.
Tip: For a luxe cocktail experience, try the Dusty Bottle Experience which includes 3 very cocktails, each with 2 spirits per cocktail, and an in-depth explanation of the vintage spirits.
Seating ranges from bar to table options, some with leather chairs or wingback upholstered chairs.
Suggested nibble: truffle popcorn which you’ll have to experience to understand the big hype from the mix of truffle olive oil and shaved truffle.
Best Tips For Visiting The Best Chicago Speakeasies
- Plan on paying cover charges and read the reviews before you go.
- Know the vibe you are looking for: Tiki, Loud Music, Spirit-based drinks, etc.
- Look for reservations and the fine print that explains the reservations
- Use Rome2rio to plan your stops and gain an idea of how to get there
- For smaller crowds, try to visit during the week for the best experiences
- Uber, Lyft, Cab, etc. but don’t drink and drive.
So, if you love the daytime vibe in Chicago, you will definitely want to enjoy the nightlife and the hidden Chicago speakeasies are sure to quench your thirst!
Experience everything from live entertainment to Karaoke, classic drinks to Tiki drinks, and secret entrances that will drive you crazy looking for them!
Even those that reside in the city don’t always know all the secret bars in Chicago surrounding them, so this list of speakeasies in Chicago will help you seek out the fun, and get there with ease.