LAS VEGAS — Shhhh… we have a secret. Or several. Sin City has its fair share of spectacular encounters, advertised on glittering billboards across the city, but some of the activities are kept hush hush — and the fun is in finding them.
Speakeasies, a throwback to the 1920s when alcohol was banned and clever partiers headed for hidden bars to imbibe bathtub gin, have been enjoying a reemergence, so to speak. Ninety years after the end of Prohibition, these cozy hotspots are tucked away in alleyways, behind bookcases and behind unmarked doors. And Las Vegas is teeming with hidden bars and secret restaurants.
Now, we’re sharing the lowdown on some of our favorites on and off The Strip.
The Underground, a speakeasy at Las Vegas’ Mob Museum, pays homage to the Prohibition era. (Mob Museum)
Perhaps the most well-known speakeasy — a personal fave that commits to the theme of the era — is The Underground at Las Vegas’ Mob Museum. Trek through the museum first, where exhibits and interactive experiences teach visitors about mob bosses, organized crime and law enforcement. Then head down to the basement for a drink.
The Underground offers a full bar, a distillery and a cocktail parlor hidden behind a wall. Grab a seat and order up a Prohibition-era cocktail, a gin-based Bee’s Knees, perhaps, which comes with a side of Charleston dance history, or a Bathtub Fizz — served in a little bathtub.
Prohibition-era cocktails like this Bathtub Fizz are served with flapper flair at the Underground, a speakeasy at Las Vegas’ Mob Museum. (Mob Museum)
Not visiting the museum today? There’s a secret entrance at the bottom of a nondescript set of stairs outside, but you’ll need a password to get in. (Fortunately, the Mob Museum posts that key detail on its social media.)
Across the street from the famous El Cortez Hotel, you’ll find The Laundry Room tucked inside what is now the Commonwealth Bar. Or rather, the Laundry Room will find you — and reservations are essential. Stroll into the bar, text the speakeasy and wait for a hostess to take you back in time to the Prohibition era. The space, a former laundry, of course, is decked out in 1920s style with space for just 22 guests. One of the city’s most popular speakeasies, this one comes complete with bespoke cocktails, a dress code and rules of decorum — including quiet voices, no smoking and no standing at the bar.
The Cosmopolitan, the very modern, purple-hued high-rise on The Strip, has surprises around every corner and quite possibly the most speakeasies per square foot. The resort’s Superfrico — the “Italian American psychedelic” dining venue from Spiegelworld, which opened in 2021 — will send your senses into overdrive as performers dance their way among the tables at random intervals. If you know where to go within this eye-popping venue, things get even more eccentric. Step through the doors of Superfrico’s hidden Ski Lodge, and you’re transported to a mountain ski lodge where penguins (or rather, humans dressed as penguins) show up for photo ops and the “windows” always depict a snowy scene.
Other Cosmopolitan hideaways include Ghost Donkey, a tacos and tequila concept tucked behind a door, unmarked save for the image of a colorful donkey, in the hotel’s Block 16 Urban Food Hall. And Secret Pizza, where you can get pizza by the slice ($6.50 and up) until 4 a.m., may be one of the least expensive meals in town, if you can find it. Look for the record-lined hallway — or the long line.
Long lines queue up outside the hotel’s Barbershop, too. Yes, you can get your hair cut here. But if you head for the janitor’s closet at the back of the shop, you’ll find yourself in a stylish speakeasy with high-end craft cocktails and karaoke or live music, depending on the day of the week. (Psst, you’ll need reservations.)
The Barbershop at Las Vegas’ Cosmopolitan resort is indeed a barbershop in the front, but in the back, it’s all speakeasy. (Courtesy David J. Crewe)
It’s not just bars that are hidden away. The hotel’s pawn shop entrance is actually a front for New York chef Chris Santos’ Beauty & Essex restaurant, where you can dine on oysters from the raw bar ($48 for a dozen), roasted bone marrow ($32) and Mexican street corn ravioli ($26).
Resorts World Las Vegas, one of the strip’s newer properties, has its own hidden agendas, including a new tequila-centric Jalisco Underground, next to Wally’s Wine & Spirits, and the Here Kitty Kitty Vice Den. A wall of lucky cats camouflages the latter at Fuhu Cha Chaan Teng in the resort’s Famous Food Street Eats area. Stop by the host stand, and you’ll be escorted through a concealed passageway and into an intimate, dimly lit bar that serves up creative, signature cocktails, including at least one with a risque garnish. (This is Vegas, after all.)
The Here Kitty Kitty Vice Den is camouflaged by a wall of lucky cats at Fuhu Cha Chaan Teng in Resort World Las Vega’s Famous Food Street Eats area. (Resorts World Las Vegas)
If you’re heading to some of Las Vegas’ other attractions, take a detour to The Cabinet of Curiosities. The same makers behind the Real Bodies and Discovering King Tut’s Tomb exhibits have created a bar just outside Bally’s. It’s filled with strange knickknacks — with QR codes so you can learn more — and it holds the entrance to The Lock, a speakeasy concealed behind a bank vault door. Bedazzled Skullcap Mojito, anyone?
Area 15 has its own speakeasy, too. You’ll need admission to Omega Mart, the spectacular — and spectacularly surreal — Meow Wolf exhibit that masks itself as a freaky grocery store. Hidden somewhere inside is Datamosh, a bar modeled after what creators imagine a pharmacy would look like in another dimension. The cocktails here are almost as crazy looking as the space itself, served in off-balance glasses — that will keep you off balance, too.
If You Go
The Underground Speakeasy: The Mob Museum is open from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily at 300 Stewart Ave. in Las Vegas. The speakeasy opens at noon and closes at 10 p.m. or midnight, depending on the day of the week. Museum tickets start at $30. Purchase them in advance — highly recommended — at https://themobmuseum.org.
The Mob Museum’s Underground speakeasy offers Prohibition-era cocktails like the Marlow, which is served in a book. (Mob Museum)
The Laundry Room: Opens at 5 p.m. daily inside the Commonwealth Bar at 525 Fremont St. Seating is limited. Make reservations at www.laundryroomlv.com.
Superfrico, Ghost Donkey, The Barbershop: Find more than 30 restaurants, bars and speakeasies inside The Cosmopolitan at 3708 S. Las Vegas Blvd.; www.cosmopolitanlasvegas.com.
Here Here Kitty and Jalisco Underground: Find both hidden bars at Resorts World Las Vegas,3000 S. Las Vegas Blvd.; rwlasvegas.com.
The Cabinet of Curiosities: This attraction and its speakeasy, The Lock, opens at noon daily at 3645 S. Las Vegas Blvd.; https://thecabinetlv.com/.
Datamosh: Open from noon to 10 p.m. daily inside Omega Mart ($59 admission) at 3215 S. Rancho Drive, Suite 100; https://meowwolf.com.