The Best Speakeasies in Atlanta
Get lost in the nostalgic atmosphere of the Prohibition-themed establishments.
The Prohibition era in the country will forever be mired in folklore. During the 1920s and early ‘30s, the 18th Amendment—which banned the manufacture, transportation, and sale of liquor—caused the creation of underground establishments where a person or group of people could grab a drink. This place came to be known as a speakeasy.
Speakeasies became popular out of necessity, of course. Although they became obsolete in 1933 after alcohol became legal again, the concept and coolness of these secret watering holes still remain. The city of Atlanta is home to several Prohibition-themed restaurants and bars; many of which also serve some of the best food in the Metropolitan area. So whether you’re in Buckhead, Midtown, or all the way in Sandy Springs, there are plenty of stylish speakeasies to frequent when you’re yearning for a taste of nostalgia.
So, there’s a great story about how this spot got its name. Fifteen years ago a woman named Eleanor walked inside Muss & Turner—now she pretty much owns the place. This truly Prohibition-style speakeasy’s main goal is to spread love to its customers similar to the warmth of its namesake. The drinks here are plentiful. Favorites such as the “Brown Thrasher”—concoction of bourbon, lemon, Amaro Averna, and hickory-smoked apple shrub—tastes great with the chicharrones and charcuterie boards, while it’s unique sandwich menu (they’ve got a peach sandwich with goat cheese) will have your mouth watering even before the first bite.
Red Phone Booth
In order to enter this popular speakeasy you have to dial a secret number in a red, antique phone booth. Sticking with the theme of the 1920s, Red Phone Booth features traditional Neapolitan pizzas, fresh seafood, house made desserts, and an extensive cigar program for the classy smokers out there. The craft cocktails are served in a variety of ways including hickory and mesquite smoked, or fresh squeezed; and this place also offers those classic concoctions such as Sazerac, Old Fashioned, or Manhattan. The Italian leather upholstery adds to the era of Prohibition the guests experience at RPB, so have a seat and get lost in one of the most exciting times in American history.
Georgia Chapter Room
Taco Mac at The Prado is more than your top-notch wing spot and sports bar. For an entirely different vibe, travel downstairs to the Chapter Room for some seasonal and local beer choices, as well as a nice list of wines and cocktails. Its barrel-style interior gives the establishment an intimate feel, so it is the best location for candid discussions and thoughtful conversations. Pretty much everything on the short—but sweet—menu you can get for under $15, such as the Tropicalia brined wings, crab cake sandwich and one of their flatbread dishes, or you can stuff your face with the all-American combination of fries and a slab of steak cooked to perfection.
Edgar’s Proof & Provision
This beautiful, underground restaurant and lounge nestled beneath the Georgian Terrace Hotel is one of the best spots in Atlanta to grab barrel-aged drinks and delicious small plates. Edgar’s Proof & Provision is a Prohibition-style bourbon bar with an intimate atmosphere and a carefully created menu that includes a variety of dishes that will satisfy anyone’s flavor palate.
The Blind Pig Parlour Bar
Probably one of the most eclectic speakeasies in Atlanta, your experience depends on what time of year you decide to pull up. Currently, The Blind Pig has a Mexican-inspired theme in celebration of the summer months, and prior to this had pop-ups for Valentine’s Day and the Christmas holidays. The warm feel gives this throwback nook a modern twist, which also offers live music surrounded by a lush decor. Since the menu is themed, you have the option of ordering traditional favorites or whichever cocktail the season holds. This swanky parlour bar is an amazing place to get away, if even for a moment.
The name means “secret,” and you might walk right by it if you’re trotting around Two Buckhead Plaza looking for speakeasies. Based on the Japanese idea of exceptionally detailed service, this dimly lit, mid-century modern-meets-brutalist bar is reservation-only, serves small plates and desserts, and isn’t shy about pricing drinks, so expect to pay around $20 per cocktail. Plus the experience of being in a cloaked, two-story environment where everybody knows they’ve been screened in advance makes for a very bossy evening, and sets up a night of stories that you shouldn’t be sharing anyway.
Supply & Demand
This 25-and-up venue sells itself for private events but is also a good place to be on Thursday nights, where members and folks who are privy to its location come through to mingle and dance without the frat house atmosphere of other Buckhead spots. The concept is Wall Street greed, and their high-end spirits—including rare vintages of Japanese whiskey, Scotch, and bourbon, as well as cocktails such as the bluish Bull Market—are well worth the investment. There are even “vesseled” group cocktails that clock in around $100 and can handle up to eight people.
Brigantine Beer Parlor
Specialty bottled beers both local and abroad, parlor games like shuffleboard and skeeball—as well as ancient British ones such as crokinole—are all waiting for you underneath a menacing giant squid hanging from the ceiling. Walk directly to the back of Argosy in EAV, for a spot that keeps a great, rare 750ml cask beer situation, and hosts a ton of events that make it not as stuffy as other local speakeasy-esque joints. Play their infamous Argo-Skee, check out the comedy shows, DJ parties, and more, Also, the establishment’s wood-fired pizzas are to die for.
Gaja Korean Bar
A subtle teal door in a Flat Shoals parking lot is the entrance to this cooler-than-most bar. It’s definitely discrete, so it gives off the feel of a speakeasy or a stylish Japanese nightclub from the early 2000s. Everything on the menu is a la carte, so you can choose from some Korean favorites such as bachan & kimchi, bibimbap beef, bulgogi, gochujang fried chicken, and several other delicious dishes. Even among the quirky uniqueness of East Atlanta village, this bar still stands alone.
The James Room
Out of all the amazing businesses that lie along the city’s BeltLine, The James Room has emerged as one of its most promising in recent years. Positioned around the corner from Krog Street Market, this place is great for purchasing baked goods, but right behind the glass casing is a cool speakeasy that remains busy on Friday and Saturday nights. The music selection is always up-to-date, and the live music during the week really encapsulates the ambiance of an upscale lounge from the old days. In addition to the sounds, this bar provides robust and complex cocktails—which pair well with the snacks and charcuterie—to set the mood for a memorable evening.