Unknown Pleasures: 7 Secret Speakeasy Bars For You To Experience

secret cocktail bars

Bored of the usual? Looking to impress someone with the illusion of exclusiveness and the allure of secrecy? Or simply want to spice up your regular drinking experience? How about a hidden entrance through a telephone box into an underground tapas bar that has all the feel of an illegal 1920s drinking hole? Or a secret doorway through a false bookcase into a speakeasy-style cocktail bar?

Take it all a step further, way past the usual, with Curve. With all our features and badass benefits, it won’t just be the secret underground bar that shows your friends you know exactly what’s going on.  

As you’re smuggled inside their secret entrances these locations give you the feeling you’re up to no good. Whether or not you actually are, the sensation of doing something surreptitious certainly adds a level of excitement to any night out.

You have your stunning Curve card by your side to supercharge your finances as your personal money firewall, gateway to money for nothing, kickass travel companion and frickin’ time machine!  As you push your way through a bookcase at the back of a barber shop, you leave your friends asking themselves how they ever got to know someone as voguish and in the know as you 😜

The Wash House, Manchester.

To gain access to this incognito drinkery you’ll have to book in advance and, once you’ve done that, try not to be misled by its deceiving exterior. While to the untrained eye, The Wash House may seem like a distinctly below-average looking laundrette, those in the know will pick up the phone situated next to a door-sized tumble drier and ask the operator for passage into this underground drinking den. Once inside, you’ll be met with the dimly lit cosy feel of any good speakeasy and a list of cocktails as inventive as the bar’s secret entrance. 

Panda & Sons, Edinburgh.

Disguised by its old-fashioned barber shop front, you’ll find the covert entrance to this underground cocktail bar through the false bookcase at the back of the false shop. At Panda & Sons the theatre of this prohibition-style speakeasy doesn’t end with the entrance. With 6 different menus to choose from, each with its own story of the Panda family history, this libation station is as creative as it is clandestine and has been dubbed one of the must-visit bars in Edinburgh. 

The Vault, London.

Another bookcase conceals the entrance to this secret speakeasy. Located at the back of Milroy’s of Soho Whiskey Specialists, at The Vault you’ll be able to secretly sample cocktails that include Milroy’s own whiskey as well as many other potent concoctions. The old fashioned whiskey shop, that unlike the false fronts of Panda & Sons and The Washhouse is actually a legitimate business, gives this secret bar a tone of authenticity. The dim lighting, low ceilings, and smokey incense-infused air all give The Vault a sense of sincerity that the speakeasy gimmick might otherwise distract from. The serious weight of the secret door is itself enough to tell any patron that this underground joint is the perfect spot for the most furtive of meetings. 

Just as the weight of The Vault’s secret door tells you everything you need to know about the bar inside, the weight of Curve Metal lets you (and your friends) know exactly how elite your wallet is. Given that your Curve Metal is all you’ll ever need to pay, its weight and metallic feel separates it from its plastic counterparts.

Red Light, Bristol.

As discrete an entrance as they come. If you’re looking for optimum subtlety, Red Light is the secret watering hole for you. With nothing to give away the bar’s location but a door covered in nondescript graffiti, illuminated in red, access through this secret entrance is only granted once patrons have picked up the equally unremarkable phone and contacted the staff inside. A red light at the bar flashes, letting the barmen know someone on the street above is seeking entry to their camouflaged cocktail den. Once buzzed inside, Red Light offers a secret drinking space inspired by the 1950s. The simple and easily forgettable doorway to this underground speakeasy gives Red Light an especially sneaky feel, suitable for all those looking to channel the excitement of prohibition-style illicit drinking. 

La Cabina, London.

This bar’s subtle phone box entrance and its 5am license on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays make it the perfect spot to recreate prohibition-era festivities. Look for La Cabina’s neon yellow phone sign and enter 2-5-8-0 on the keypad of the phone box below. Standing otherwise unassumingly between a rundown Turkish cafe and a dry cleaners, the concealed portal to this underworld tapas bar is shrouded in secrecy. Once open, the door gives way to the late night secret speakeasy of your dreams – complete with DJ booth and dance floor. La Cabina’s ‘from Sevilla to Shoreditch’ tagline rings true across the board, combining its fashionably distressed exposed brick and vintage woodwork with its lively menu – who knew that the fusion of tapas bar and underground speakeasy could work so well?  

The Poison Cabinet, Newcastle.

Finding the entrance to Newcastle’s most secretive bar is a challenge in itself. Even if you were to stumble across The Poison Cabinet, realising what’s behind the bolted-shut wooden door – salvaged at auction from Clerkenwell Prison – is a myth in itself. Try knocking. If you get an answer you might just be allowed in to this 60-capacity concealed cabinet of alcohol consumption for a night inside Newcastle’s most hidden gem. And as you’re asked to pick your poison, consider also which Curve card you’ll choose. Pick from Curve Blue, Black or Metal depending on what best suits you.  

The Mayor of Scaredy Cat Town, London.

Upon entering the Breakfast Club in Spitalfields you’ll have to tell a member of staff that you’re “here to see the Mayor”. They’ll nod, ask you to come right this way and lead you to the Smeg fridge that sits centrally in the restaurant. Behind the fridge door you’ll find no milk, yoghurt or fermenting leftovers, instead a hidden gateway to an underground cocktail lair, The Mayor of Scaredy Cat Town. Once through the fridge, the speakeasy inside is a place of exciting contrast. Its dingy vibe – holding true to the classic speakeasy – is poised against its effervescent decor, with an equally playful cocktail menu.

So, if ‘Stop-tober’ was too much of a challenge or ‘Dry-January’ seems like far too strenuous a task, with these secret speakeasies and their sneaky entrances, no one has to know you’re cheating. Or if you’re just looking to show off the fact that you know something your friends don’t, not only have you just led them into an underground bar through a fridge, you’ve also just flashed your Curve Metal, in Limited Edition Red, leaving your friends and loved ones in awe of everything you know about the world that they somehow don’t. Like all the kickass features that a Curve gives you. 

Just as these secret entrances open up to reveal the awesome underworlds they conceal, once you’ve got Curve in your wallet you’ll realise all the badass benefits that you never even knew were there. Benefits like 1% instant daily Curve Cash when you spend at your chosen retailers from 100 awesome brands, or, if you’ve paid with the wrong account, Go Back in Time up to 14 days and switch the card you used. Why would you miss out for a second longer? Download Curve now.

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