During the 1920s known as the “Prohibition Era,” alcohol was outlawed, leaving people to drink in secrecy. Since walking into a bar and ordering a cocktail wasn’t possible, people would hang out at speakeasies. Speakeasies were hidden bars that usually required a password to get into and drinks were often served in teacups to mask the alcohol in case they got caught. And the secret is out, Tampa Bay is full of them!
Although those days are long gone, there’s still something charming about going back in time to the dark, cozy atmospheres of the old speakeasies. While you don’t need to worry about being sneaky, there are several around the Tampa Bay area that will still give you that quaint 1920s feel (and yes, some do require a password!).
So, step back in time and check out our picks for the best speakeasies in Tampa Bay.
MORE IDEAS – If you’d rather have your date out in the open, head to one of these Awesome Rooftop Bars in Tampa Bay.
Our Favorite Speakeasies in Tampa Bay
- Dirty Laundry
- Madame Fortune’s Dessert + HiFi Parlor
- The Saint
- Bar Chica
- Spookeasy Lounge
- Pangea Alchemy Lab
- CW’s Gin Joint
1742 Central Ave, St. Petersburg
Located in the Grand Central District of Downtown St Pete, Dirty Laundry is a café with a laundromat-themed ambiance by day (Sunday-Saturday). But by night, enter through a secret door and you’ll find yourself in a funky speakeasy with a Cuban flair (open Thursday-Sunday).
To enter, pick up the payphone and an automated voice will greet you and give you a code to type in. Once you get the code right, one of the washing machines turns into a door, giving you access to the speakeasy.
Their classic cocktail bar serves up pitchers to share, frozen mojitos, and plenty of unique flavors to add a little spice. The cocktail list plays on the Cuban theme, with drinks named Havana Mule, Cubana Mami, and Revolucion De Cuba.
Fuel your night with something from the food menu filled with Cuban-style tapas.
Madame Fortune’s Dessert + HiFi Parlor
1930 E. 7th Ave, Tampa
From the owners of the popular 7th + Grove comes Tampa’s latest hidden gem, Madame Fortune’s Dessert + HiFi Parlor. Located through a secret door at Ybor’s Roast Deli + Bakery, patrons can step back in time to a place that connects Tampa’s history to the present.
Madame Fortune is named in honor of Fortune Taylor, a former slave who became a landowner in Tampa in the 1890s and gave permission for a bridge on her land to connect east and west Tampa (which is known today as Laurel Street Bridge).
To make your way into the speakeasy, try using the phrase “Find your fortune.” From there, you’ll be transported back in time to a place filled with cocktails and Caribbean-influenced food like their popular Lobster & Shrimp Curry Stew and Sweet Potato Cornbread.
49 24th Street North, St. Petersburg
Lurking behind a discrete, unassuming entryway along a side street in the Grand Central District of St. Pete, you’ll find The Saint. Voted as one of St. Pete’s best bars of 2022, The Saint invites guests to confess life’s darkest sins and enjoy fine cocktails and good company. Relax while the Resident Mischief Makers serves you one of their 7 Deadly Sins specialty drinks.
For the truly daring, they offer an Absinthe Service. Watch as their beautiful absinthe drip prepares your cocktail during this tableside experience.
You can also indulge in one of their aptly named savory bites such as The Communion Board (charcuterie), Skewers of Sacrament, Hell of a Hummus and The Holy Bible (almond and Nutella sponge cake).
2109 Bayshore Blvd, Tampa
This classic cocktail bar is located in the historic Bayshore Royal Building in Tampa and gives off old Hollywood vibes. Their cocktail menu is unique in that it uses traditional and historical techniques of mixing cocktails.
Patrons can sit at the bar or in one of their private booths and sip on crafted cocktails such as Bees Knees, Old Cuban, and Margarita de Casa. Their food menu has an eclectic mix of items like Truffle Popcorn, Saltwater Oysters, Duck Confit Poutine, and Bourbon Chocolate Cake.
Reservations are strongly recommended. Be sure to call ahead for the password before you step into another era.
1180 Central Ave, St. Petersburg
Located tucked behind Bodega in St. Pete is Bar Chica. The dark ambiance with pops of teal and green makes you feel like you’ve gone back in time. Their food menu has a Latin flair, and their signature cocktail menu includes hand-crafted cocktails such as Lemongrass-Infused Caipirinha and an Oaxaca Old-Fashioned.
1909 N. 15th St, Tampa
Press the right spine on the shelf of the bookcase located on the second floor of the Stone Soup Company in Ybor and discover Tampa’s spookiest speakeasy. Unlike the other spots, Spookeasy Lounge is alcohol-free. Instead of cocktails and libations, they serve botanical teas, kava, and specialty coffees.
While you’re sipping on Sinister Sider, Wolfskinn Mead, or a Grave Digger, you can also order off their food menu. They offer breakfast, lunch, and dinner with frightening fare. Try the Texas Sandwich Massacre, Wicked Wings, and My Bloody BBQ Flatbread if you dare.
Those looking for spirits can head downstairs to their sister lounge, The Catacombs. There, you can try concoctions such as Love Potion, Vampire’s Kiss, and Mind Eraser.
Pangea Alchemy Lab
1564 Main Street, Sarasota
Head down to Sarasota to find this speakeasy with a European-style twist. Using modern techniques and fresh ingredients, their mixologists are always coming up with unique twists on classic cocktails like the Blue Mule and the Cat Daddy Flip. They also offer a food menu with items you won’t see often such as Rabbit Tacos and Duck Spring Rolls.
CW’s Gin Joint
633 N. Franklin Street, Tampa
CW’s is a true throwback to a time when fine spirits were savored in a casual atmosphere. Named for its proprietor and designer, Carolyn Wilson, this vintage inspired hot spot features a delectable menu and an array of libations.
Their classic drink menu includes familiar cocktails such as Gin & Tonic, Old Fashioned, and French 75. Their menu of custom crafted cocktails is filled with items with names like Purple Rain, Monkey Business, Blazing Saddles, and Witch Doctor. You can also nosh on plates like their Truffle Purple Potatoes, Angeled Eggs, Seafood and Grits, or House-Made Bolognese Pasta.
Featured Image Credit: CW’s Gin Joint
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