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By Block Ice | February 18, 2024

For an exhilarating night out, opt for a cocktail that comes with a side of adventure. Modern speakeasies, inspired by the secretive bars of the prohibition era, offer an elegant, exclusive experience for bargoers.

If you’re looking to garnish your next cocktail with an exclusive experience, learn how to plan a speakeasy outing.

What is a Modern-Day Speakeasy?

Your favorite password-protected pub has a storied history behind it – today’s speakeasies are part of a history that hails back to secretive bars in bygone eras.

According to some accounts, the word speakeasy came from the “speak-softly shops,” which were illegal drinking spots in England and Ireland in the 19th century. By the 1920s, speakeasies made their way to the United States with the rise of prohibition. Speakeasies were underground bars that cropped up to serve those looking for a drink. It was crucial that patrons keep quiet about these secret bars; thus, the term “speak easy.” In New York City alone, there was rumored to be an estimated 20,000 - 100,000 speakeasies in operation. These ranged from your local moonshine basement distilleries to full-blown elegant nightclubs.

Themed bars inspired by historic speakeasies began to see a rise in popularity in the 2000s, and today, many U.S. cities have their own secret watering holes. Today’s speakeasies still offer an exclusive experience, minus the illegal activity. These hidden cocktail lounges can still be found by savvy partygoers in bars tucked away behind secret doors or password and membership-protected experiences that give you the thrill of exclusivity and often have unique specialty cocktails.

How to Plan Your Night Out at a Speakeasy

To plan your speakeasy adventure, you’ll need to do some digging. These bars are intentionally hard to find, so you’ll often need to do a bit of Googling or get a word-of-mouth recommendation.

It helps to know if the bar you’re visiting has a daily password you need to know, a membership requirement, or specific directions to help find a secret door. This detective work is all part of the adventure – tracking down the right bar and the right hidden entrance is half the fun of a speakeasy outing.

Are you looking for a great speakeasy in Sacramento? They can be tricky to find since they are, by nature, more discreet than a traditional establishment. Luckily, we’ve got an inside scoop on some of the best-hidden bars in town.

Matt Briggs standing in front of assorted cocktail tools in The Trophy Club.The founder of Block Ice, Matt Briggs, giving a cocktail class at Sacramento Speakeasy, The Trophy Club.

Local Sacramento Speakeasies

The Trophy Club

The Trophy Club is an exclusive experience hidden away within Flatstick Pub. This elegant cocktail lounge offers creative cocktails in an elegant setting. Plus, their delicious drinks are served over The Block’s clear craft ice.

The Trophy Club is accessible to all who can find the secretive entrance, although members are given priority access.

Where everyone is a winner.


Daniello’s is a speakeasy just outside of Sacramento in Roseville. Daniello’s is owned by the proprietors of the neighboring Italian restaurant The Place and offers a discrete tapas bar downstairs and an elegant steakhouse upstairs. If you’re passing by outside, you may not even notice the bar – the entrance is cleverly hidden within a penny candy store.

“Little surprises around every corner…"

The Roost

The Roost is an intimate cocktail bar hidden within Bawk Chicken + Bar, tucked away behind a hidden door. Visitors get to experience the establishment’s extensive selection of spirits and high-class concoctions in a luxurious environment.

Reservations, while not required, are highly recommended.

The Roost is worth the reward.

Back Door Lounge

Back Door Lounge, Old Sacramento’s oldest lounge bar, is tucked away down Firehouse Alley. Back Door Lounge is perfect for those looking for the fun of a speakeasy with a more casual vibe. Reminiscent of a dive bar, patrons rave about the jukebox and the excellent cocktails at this Sacramento classic. It’s cash-only, so don’t forget to hit up the ATM first.

Relax in the retro vibes.

Historic Star Lounge

Once a ballroom/auditorium, now a speakeasy-inspired bar, the Star Lounge is made for anyone who likes a little history along with their cocktail. After a quick trip up the stairs or elevator, you’ll find the Star Lounge on the third floor of the Eastern Star building, a location on the National Register of Historic Places. With great drinks, views, and ambient lighting, you’ll be transported to the gilded ages before you know it.

Reach for the stars, or grab a cocktail instead.

The Shady Lady

Everything in The Shady Lady, from the elegant decor to the exciting menu, is inspired by the speakeasies of the 1920s. Looking for even more historic fun? The Shady Lady was the birthplace of the cocktail The White Linen back in 2008. Enjoy this refreshing gin drink as you soak in the atmosphere.

Take a trip back in time.

A speakeasy is the perfect way to enjoy an exciting, elegant night out. Do you have a hidden favorite bar here in Sacramento? Share it with us on social media!

This blog was updated in February 2024 to include up-to-date information. It was originally published in 2021