Let’s face it: The term “speakeasy” has jumped the shark. Back in Prohibition times, when the only alternative way to get soused was a doctor’s note, clandestine drinking dens made sense. Nowadays, the term has become synonymous with mustachioed gentlemen demanding that customers crawl through an old timey telephone booth to sip overly precious cocktails from an establishment with a perfectly legitimate liquor license.
That being said, there are a number of bars that warrant a little extra searching—and where the sneaky location is part of a larger story rather than a marketing gimmick. Whether it’s a pub tucked away in the Tower of London where generations of Beefeaters have gone for a pint or a Don Draper–approved bar hidden in an office building so ad men in the 1970s could grab a surreptitious whiskey when on deadline, many of these are spots that were hidden for a reason. Note that one or two may require a serious trek, but at least there are plenty of libations at the end of the journey.