Speakeasies rose in popularity during the Prohibition era in the tumultuous 1920s. When alcohol was banned, drinking establishments went "underground" and could only be accessed by those in the know with the right password for entry.
America's cocktail culture, ironically, boomed during this era, along with a love for jazz and dancing. Now, a century later, you can discover speakeasies in Fort Worth. Hidden behind a bookcase or a washing machine, the secretive nature of these spots adds to the excitement of going out for a cocktail.
To enter the Amber Room, look for a large wooden door on Bryan Avenue in Fort Worth’s Near Southside, or follow a passageway in the corner of the bar at Wishbone and Flynt which leads to a large gold door covered in doorknobs. Inside you’ll find a dimly lit, art-deco inspired lounge with a small cocktail bar. No password required here, but exposed brick walls and eclectic furniture along with multiple conversation areas provide the perfect backdrop to sip on crafted cocktails. Try the Aztec Old-Fashioned or the Absinthe Minded.
Thompson's Bookstore in downtown Fort Worth offers a true speakeasy experience. The moodily lit space with sumptuous jewel tones and dark wood bookcases transports you to another era. Once a bookstore, Thompson’s holds onto those dark academia vibes and you’ll want to soak it all in with one of their expertly made cocktails. Look for the password printed on the receipt, repeat it to the doorman, then go through a bookcase that leads down to the basement speakeasy. With an apothecary feel and private booths, the downstairs bar gives a nod to its history as a pharmacy. The password can also be found on their social media and is open Wednesday through Saturday.
Bodega W. 7th
Convenience store or cocktails? You decide. On the surface, Bodega appears to be a run-of-the-mill convenience store but after you buy something look for the PIN number on your receipt. Enter this number in the keypad by the large freezer door. That will allow you to enter the hallway that leads you to the speakeasy. Inside is a full bar serving up craft cocktails along with ping pong, pool and an outdoor patio.
Dirty Laundry looks and sounds like a true laundromat complete with washing machines and dryers. Before you get your coins ready to run a load, head for the machine with an "Out of Order" sign and pull on the handle and that will lead you to the speakeasy. Inside you’ll find a small bar area serving up craft cocktails.
Find the fortune-teller neon sign and the throwback Zoltar machine in a storefront on 5th Street in Downtown Fort Worth and you’ve arrived at Curfew. Make your way from the small landing down the stairs to a fantastical and whimsical space full of murals, neon and disco balls. On the weekends, a DJ makes the dance floor the place to be. Treat yourself to an expertly and artfully crafted cocktail that complements the many Instagram-able spots found throughout the space.
The Back Room at Funky Picnic
Look for a simple chalkboard sign on Bryan Avenue in the Near Southside to find The Back Room. Adjacent to and part of the popular Funky Picnic Brewery, the Back Room cheekily references Prohibition with large-scale photo murals and sophisticated, retro-inspired cocktails. The long, narrow space feels intimate with seating on one side and a large pizza oven and bar on the other. Along with a cocktail or beer, enjoy a delicious appetizer or pizza. Beer fans will be delighted to find authentic Belgian Lambic as a brew option.
Scat Jazz Lounge
While the Scatt Jazz Lounge is technically not a speakeasy, it may as well be with its slightly off the beaten path location in Downtown Fort Worth. After you find the large Scat Jazz Lounge neon sign in an alleyway, take the unmarked elevator down to the jazz club experience of your dreams. Once there, order a cocktail and enjoy live jazz music in one of the swankiest spots in town.