How to Get Into Dallas’ Best Speakeasies and Secret Bars

Look for the moving bookshelves, fridge doors, and other hidden entrances.

We’ll never besmirch the merits of a good sports barwine bar, or beer garden. But sometimes, you want a cocktail in a moody setting that could’ve been pulled from Gatsby’s day. When the mood strikes, settle into one of Dallas’s many speakeasy-style bars.

Today’s speakeasies don’t serve the same purpose as those from a century ago—namely, drinking bathtub gin while flouting the law. But they still have their charms. Some maintain a throwback Prohibition-era vibe, while others serve up unique concoctions featuring mezcal and rum, and others have a real penchant for Japanese-inspired drinks. None are particularly easy to find, but we’ll get to that.

These are 16 of the best speakeasy-style bars in DFW. Don’t forget the password.

The Branca Room

Bishop Arts

This new bar is set in the back of Chimichurri restaurant and can also be accessed from the alley—look for the red door. The menu was created by local bar star James Slater to highlight the convergence of Argentine and Italian cultures. That’s seen in cocktails like Order of the Foresters, with Fernet-Branca, green chartreuse, pisco, pandan, lemon, and basil. The bar also makes its own amaro and vermouth, a meticulous process that results in drinks you can’t find anywhere else.
How to book: Stop by for first come, first served seating.

La Mina

The Village

La Mina serves good Mexican food underneath the Drey Hotel, so eating at the restaurant already feels like you’re in on a secret. But there’s more to this spot than you’ll see at first glance. After dinner, ask your server for the code to the hidden bar, then walk toward the neon tequila sign in back, and you’ll see a keypad next to the stainless steel refrigerator door. That’s your ticket to entering this agave-fueled bar serving tequilas, mezcals, and cocktails.
How to book: Stop by for first come, first served seating.

Room 520


The Sova Hotel opened last year, providing travelers with small but comfortable rooms, perfect for nights out in Downtown and Deep Ellum. There’s also a secret bar. Ask the front desk for keys to “room 520,” which isn’t a guest room but a cocktail bar hidden in plain sight. Once inside, you’ll find drinks with Japanese accents, like the Nanzen-Ji with sake, mint, and citrus, or the Gion with smoke-infused Japanese whisky, Campari, and bitters.
How to book: Reserve via Yelp.



When Hotel Vin opened in Grapevine, it brought with it a host of new eating and drinking options, including Bacchus restaurant and the attached Harvest Hall food hall. But for a quiet drink away from the crowds, make a reservation at Magnum, an 18-seat bar that can be accessed by placing a call from the phone booth outside the hidden door. Order a cocktail or glass of whiskey from the menu, or opt for the Dealer’s Choice, and leave your fate up to the bartender.

Available for Reservations

Blackbird Society

Deep Ellum

Neon Kitten is an izakaya serving cocktails and dim sum. Blackbird Society is an intimate bar serving cocktails and snacks. And the latter can be accessed through a bookshelf inside the former. Blackbird Society was named for a manga series and stays on theme with its decor and drinks—think brick walls, gilded mirrors, and leather couches set in a dark and moody room. Take in your surroundings, then order a cocktail or splurge on a pour of hard-to-find Japanese whisky.
How to book: Reserve via Tock.


Arts District

Most restaurants don’t appreciate you taking a stroll through their kitchen, but the team at Musume won’t mind. Because that’s how you enter Akai, the dimly lit cocktail lounge serving Japanese-inspired drinks. Early in the evening, the bar’s atmosphere is fairly relaxed, then as the night goes on, the vibe turns toward bottle service and sparklers.
How to book: Text 214-444-5357 for reservations.


Lower Greenville

A tiny sign on the patio railing is all that alerts you to Apothecary’s existence—well, that plus a host standing beside said sign. Through the unmarked door is a dimly lit den of velvet furnishings, vintage chandeliers, and gilded mirrors, with a handful of bar seats and low-slung couches. The menu is filled with creative finds such as the Muerte Despierta featuring sous vide green apple-infused mezcal, lime, Yucatán bitter orange, génépy, scallop bottarga, and egg white. Does it sound kinda wacky? Yes. Is it good? Also yes.
How to book: Reserve via Tock.

Pony Tail

Deep Ellum

Trick Pony has doors right on Main Street in Deep Ellum. You can’t miss it, but you can absolutely miss Pony Tail, because this bar-within-a-bar is stashed behind a nondescript door in the back of Trick Pony. The tiny room features a communal table and shelves lined with amari, small-batch bourbons, and coveted whiskeys. Taste your way through a few unfamiliar bottles, and you might discover a new favorite nightcap.
How to book: Stop by for first come, first served seating.

Bourbon and Banter


Located one floor below the Statler Hotel lobby, Bourbon & Banter marries Prohibition-era speakeasy vibes with the romantic aesthetic of the 1950s and 1960s—when The Statler version 1.0 was a destination for visiting film stars. Housed in what was once an onsite barbershop, the bar’s covert cred is supplied by a phone booth that opens a hidden door. Inside, the couches are inviting, the shelves are lined with bourbon, and the cocktails range from strong and straightforward (Barrel-Aged Manhattan) to visually striking and hands-on. Channel the space’s barbershop past and order the Pompadour, an Old Fashioned riff made with bourbon, Venezuelan rum, bitters, and vanilla tincture that’s crowned with a creme brûlée candy top—access the liquid by breaking that top with a tiny hammer.

Available for Reservations

Yellow Rosa

Deep Ellum

The unmarked door next to Basic Taco doesn’t look like much, but that’s the point. Rather than a dark, moody bar, the nondescript entrance hides a friendly enclosed courtyard plucked straight from the beaches of Tulum or the cantinas of San Miguel de Allende. Vines snake up the stone walls, Latin music arrives via a live musical act or DJ, and the menu features a variety of tacos, small plates (elotes, aguachiles), and refreshing cocktails.

Available for Reservations

Rare Books


It’s the old phone booth gag: Approach the red phone in the back of J. Theodore restaurant and dial the “librarian” to request entrance. You will need to give a password before the door opens, but don’t worry, you were born for this (and the password is posted on Instagram and Facebook each week). The swanky room hosts live music, and the bar stocks its shelves with a few hundred whiskeys, so you’ll never run out of things to do.
How to book: Stop by for first come, first served seating.

Atwater Alley


Atwater’s speakeasy credentials are strong. The door sports a double “A” logo as the only hint you’ve reached the right place. That place? In an alley, surrounded by dumpsters, behind Henry’s Majestic. Once you enter that easy-to-miss door, you’ll find a two-story hangout with dark wooden bars, hanging lamps, and potent, expertly crafted drinks. The bar initially started with no menu—you can still chat up the bartender for a bespoke tipple—but now you can also order from a boozy lineup organized by category (i.e. “sour” or “spirit-forward”).
How to book: Stop by for first come, first served seating.

Bodega Speakeasy

Fort Worth

There’s an unwritten rule that any place declaring itself a speakeasy is probably not a speakeasy. However, self-billed as “Fort Worth’s worst kept secret,” there’s still something secretive about entering a bar through an unmarked convenience store refrigerator door. Once you get inside the unexpectedly large space, bask in the red glow of the neon “WanderLust” sign while partaking in signature cocktails, local beers, and select wine. If you need more to occupy your time beyond sitting and drinking, the bar also sports darts, shuffleboard, pool tables, and big screen TVs broadcasting most major sporting events.
How to book: Stop by for first come, first served seating.

La Viuda Negra


Don’t let the wedding dress in the window here fool you. Instead, follow the clues: The shiny, black, faceless mannequin in the window looms like a specter, or maybe a black widow (“la viuda negra” in Spanish). Located next door to sister establishment El Come Taco (do yourself a favor and line your stomach with a couple tacos beforehand), this agave-centric bar highlights lesser-known spirits from small-producer mezcals to sotol and bacanora. Cocktails are nicely balanced and often served in whimsical glassware, but you can also sip those spirits straight if that’s more your vibe.
How to book: Stop by for first come, first served seating.

Thompsons Bookstore

Fort Worth

Boasting a vibe that is equal parts mysterious library and whispered-about underground lair, Thompson’s Bookstore, located in the historic Vybek Building in downtown Fort Worth, is a two-story ode to good drinks. Upstairs you’ll find a perfectly lovely bar. Within that bar lies a bookcase that’s really a door, and said door leads down to the underground speakeasy, complete with classic cocktails, creative originals, and a solid whiskey selection.
How to book: Stop by for first come, first served seating.

Information provided by Thrillist

Kevin Gray is a freelance writer and editor covering all things food, drinks, and travel. He’s written for The Dallas Morning NewsForbesLiquor.comMen’s Health, and Wine Enthusiast, and his extensive home bar is turning into a real Hoarders situation.

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