How to Find the Best Speakeasies and Secret Bars in Atlanta
From password-protected drinking dens to a dimly lit bar behind a freezer door.
The number one rule of a speakeasy is to keep it hush-hush. Lucky for you, we’re not very good at keeping secrets. Ever since the 1920s when alcohol was banned under the 18th Amendment, hidden water holes have emerged all across the country. Once the ban on alcohol was lifted in 1933, speakeasies were unnecessary, but the charm, secrecy, and badassery of a speakeasy lives on.
You can still find dimly lit spaces hidden behind secret doors—and Atlanta has plenty of ‘em. Some are simply tucked out of plain sight, while others require passwords, memberships, and connections to hidden hosts, taking the drama up a notch. Whatever your pick, these speakeasies in Atlanta are totally worth the hunt.
12 Cocktail Bar
The best speakeasies lie where you least expect them—and that’s definitely true of 12 Cocktail Bar, which is perched at the top of one of Atlanta’s top tourist destinations. Enter Ponce City Market and take the elevators to the lower floor so a host can take you to the bar where the exclusive find has breathtaking views of the city. Try the O.G. Old Fashioned or a 50/50 Martini for a classic drink. There are also light bites, including marcona almonds, olives, black bean hummus, and a red curry bowl. Reservations are highly recommended, though walk-ins are welcome.
How to book: Via Tock
Forget the ‘20s, boogie on down to the ‘70s at Jojo’s Beloved. This speakeasy-style lounge is nestled inside the swanky new food hall, Politan Row at Colony Square in Midtown. Here, disco glam and vinyl records run the show. They have an extensive cocktail, wine, and spirits list, ranging from single-servings to for-the-table options to share. Try the Pink Cadillac, which is made using a bubble-gum infused reposado tequila. Not so adventurous? The champagne list is pretty good, too.
The Waiting Room
Modern speakeasies no longer require the leather couches, cigars, and extensive bourbon selections of yesteryear. The spaces can be groovy, chill, and sexy, like the newest addition to Midtown, The Waiting Room. The bar is perched on top of Bon Ton and carries a distinctly eclectic ‘70s vibe. The lounge, with shag-covered seating and moody neon lighting, draws crowds for the aesthetic alone, but the curated cocktail menu keeps folks coming back for more. Try the New Age with tamarind grenadine, orange acid, and absinthe, or the Head Held High with rum, raw sugar, and lime. Live music and DJ sets begin at 10 pm each night.
Inside Muss & Turner, a neighborhood favorite restaurant, a treasure trove of cocktails sits behind a freezer door. Favorites such as the Brown Thrasher—a concoction of bourbon, lemon, Amaro Averna, and hickory-smoked apple shrub—tastes great with the chicharrones and charcuterie boards, while its 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
To enter this popular, members-only speakeasy, you have to dial the correct number into a red antique phone booth. Sticking with the theme of the 1920s, another main draw at Red Phone Booth is the extensive cigar program with more than 200 labels stored inside a world-class humidor. On the drinks menu you’ll find classic concoctions like a Sazerac, Old Fashioned, or Manhattan, plus some rotating unique creations. 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.
With a name that means “secret,” you might walk right by Himitsu if you’re trotting around Two Buckhead Plaza. The sleek, mid-century bar is doling out small plates, desserts, and top-notch cocktails next to celebrity hotspot Umi. Email ahead of time for a reservation or check with your server at Umi to see if they can sneak you in, and get ready for over-the-top service.
The James Room
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 called The James Room that keeps the party going all night. long. The music selection is always up-to-date, while live music during the week 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.
The Third Door
The Third Door is a speakeasy and live music venue in a restored ‘20s filling station, steps away from the historic Marietta Square. The space evolves from a dimly lit standing room-only bar to an open patio for live music and table seating. Craft cocktails are expertly made, so try the King Kong, made with rum, scotch, banana liqueur, amaro, and walnut bitters. If you’re a sherry lover, try the Red Cap, made with gin, fino sherry, elderflower, pine liqueur, and grapefruit and lavender bitters. They also have small plates of charcuterie, hummus, and pimento cheese, and a stellar selection of zero-proof options.
Hidden inside The Bank Event Center is The Vault. The elusive bar is accessed through a massive vault door. Money is the theme, appropriately, and the cocktails even nod to banker vibes with options like The Mimosa Money Tree, The Bank 75, and The Heist. Beyond the drinks list, there are hookah options and regular comedy shows and concerts hosted in the space.
How to book: Via Tock