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Shhh! Palm Springs Speakeasy Scene Just Expanded

tailor shop

Knock Knock

By Kevin Perry

The best thing about a secret is spilling it. You get a guilty thrill every time you divulge confidential information to someone you trust. That’s the unique charm of a speakeasy. You feel like part of an exclusive club, yet you’re being inclusive every time you welcome a new friend or loved one into the bar of your choice.

During prohibition, the speakeasy served as a concealed way for Americans to access alcohol and partake in the nightlife that comes with it. When, with the passing of the 18th amendment, alcohol became effectively banned in the U.S., out-in-the-open bars were replaced by these discreet pubs. Today, speakeasy is essentially a bar meant to be shrouded in secrecy, often hidden, and embodying a prohibition vibe with dim lighting. The Palm Springs speakeasy scene is fun a growing.

Del Rey Restaurant
Credit: Del Rey

New Hidden Gem on Arenas

And there’s a gangbuster new option ring-a-ding-dinging its way to the popular Arenas Road. The new kid on the block is so shy that even its owners prefer not to publicize it. There’s no name on the door and it’s tricky to find. When asked for comment, they stayed defiantly off-the-record, then sent a down-low/high-society invitation to the watering hole’s website.

So, you didn’t hear it here, but a little birdy told us that the new speakeasy is a gregarious gas! Characterized by dim lighting and shimmering possibilities, the jumpin’ joint caters to the whims of yesteryear rather than adhering to the trends of today. They sling suds according to your taste buds; the menu is a who’s who of hearty concoctions.

Even though we’re still technically off the record, we will paraphrase one of the owners, D.L. (no fooling – those are his real initials!). He is less concerned with putting a spotlight on fancy bartenders and mixology fads and more interested in pleasing his patrons’ palates.

Memo to D.L.: When you’re ready to give us an official statement about your bee’s-knees barroom, we’re all ears! In the meantime, let’s take a stroll through the libation-soaked landscape of the Palm Springs speakeasy scene…

Hint: Blackbook is across the street.


Throwback Thrills

Travel back to a century ago, when flappers flapped and zoot suits jitterbugged into the pop culture zeitgeist. The roaring 20s are still roaring at Bar Cecil, a blast from the past in every sense of the term. “It’s right on the edge of overstimulation,” explains proprietor Nate VanDeventer of the speakeasy’s cacophonous kitsch. “It’s nonstop conversation pieces if you’re sitting at the bar.”

You’ll marvel at the medieval theme at Counter Reformation, a tucked away hidden wine bar at The Parker. They specialize in small-batch wines from around the world, as well as rare and unique spirits. Counter Reformation offers a sophisticated and inviting ambiance that is sure to impress. If you feel you’ve been too indulgent, there is a wooden confessional in the back to rid you of all your guilt.


You can also quench your thirst for 1930s opulence at Seymour’s, a Palm Springs speakeasy tucked away at Mr. Lyons Steakhouse. To enter Seymour’s, you have to walk through the kitchen and find the unmarked door that leads to the speakeasy. Once inside, you’ll be transported back in time with the vintage décor and dim lighting. It’s named after Seymour Williams, who was a notorious rum runner during the prohibition era. The cocktail menu at Seymour’s is impressive, featuring classic drinks like the Old Fashioned and Manhattan, as well as creative concoctions like the Grapefruit Collins and the Spicy Margarita.

interior of bar

Fast-forward to the fifties and study these studies: you’ll feel like you’re in a dashing den at Del Rey, a wood-paneled wonder of restraint and refinement. Be sure to try the appropriately named Shy Rickey cocktail and simmer in the secretive vibes of this cozy kiosk. You might need to ask for directions at the reception desk of  the Villa Royal resort as this Palm Springs speakeasy is tucked away in the back past the pool.

Similarly stealthy, check out Paul Bar/Food. From the outside, it’s a very unassuming Vista Chino storefront, but once you step inside, you’re transported to a bygone era of robust rye whiskey and rib-sticking fare. Order the porkchop and chase it with a Black Manhattan.

paul bar

As we trek further into midcentury mastery, PS Air captures a swinging 60s style. This Palm Springs speakeasy takes the form of a retro airline, complete with compact cuisine and jumbo joy. Drag performers decked out in vintage threads dominate the aisle, blurring the line between throwback and thrillingly current. You discretely board through Bouschet next door and they have an extensive entertainment line-up.

ps air experience

And now that you’re firmly in the pilot’s seat, navigate your way to Truss & Twine in the heart of the Uptown Design District. Get a bespoke beverage designed specifically to your appetite. The expert bartenders begin by asking if you’re a clear liquor aficionado or more of an earthy elixir type. From there, you guide your own journey into nostalgia… It discretely opens at 6 pm and offers late night sips until 12:30 am.

bar seating

What’s New? Old-School Esteem, That’s What!

Everything old fashioned is new again at the latest additions to the Palm Springs pub tableau. Tailor Shop crafts cocktails with painstaking passion. The golden hued barware sparkles amidst the muted décor, beckoning you to explore each shadowy corner as you down your third highball (but who’s counting?). The entrance is quietly tucked behind Bootlegger Tiki and surrounded by shrubs, so it feels like it’s a secret entrance.

Tailor Shop int.

Though technically not a speakeasy, Clandestino evokes the haunted saloon from The Shining, but don’t be scared! Soothe yourself with a flight of margaritas that run the gourmet gamut from juicy watermelon to spicy cucumber. Their street food paves a path to perfection, but be sure to leave room for dessert – the Churro Ice Cream Sandwich is to die for.

Clandestino bar

And bringing our focus full-circle, don’t forget the aforementioned, brand-spanking-new unnamed Arenas Road speakeasy. There are so many options if you’re a citizen of the evening. Oops, we’ve said too much. Time to go back on the DL. See you later, alligators.

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