During Prohibition, thirsty folks had to find watering holes, secret bars, and nightclubs willing to sell spirits—often in private homes. When imbibers arrived, it was necessary to whisper, or “speak easy,” about your interest in an adult beverage to keep activity on the down low.
Today, wetting your whistle poses a new set of challenges. Instead of a prohibition on alcohol, it’s the crowds themselves that are inadvisable. This means the old-fashioned speak-easy has a brand-new starring role in the pursuit of leisure spent sipping suds with friends and family.
With that boozy backdrop, we’ve rounded up eight properties for sale right now with their own speak-easies. You don’t need a code word to enter these comfortable places to hang out and have a few drinks without the worry of social distancing.
Highlights include a delightful art deco basement lounge in Kansas City, a house in the Hollywood Hills rumored to have been a local hangout for silent-film stars of yesteryear, and a Dutch Colonial in Oregon with a basement speak-easy surprise.
These secret hideaways were already nice spots for entertaining a few months ago, but now they’re the ultimate luxury amenity as a private space for socializing. So raise a glass and scroll on down.
Fortified castle: Built in 1921, this 3,700-square-foot home was built as a “fortified castle.” Filled with gorgeous art deco details, the five-bedroom home also features specialty light fixtures throughout. But the true highlight is the art deco speak-easy and projection room housed in the wood-paneled basement. It includes a bar, lounge area, and ornate fireplace.
Peralta Hills: This six-bedroom mansion comes with nearly every amenity imaginable: a massive saltwater fish tank, crafts room, sauna and tanning bed, gym, and home theater. For true entertainment, there’s a speak-easy above the property’s detached garage. It’s a formal, elegant space with a high ceiling and features a pool table, bar, and fish tank. The space is ideal for entertaining a crowd without ever having to leave the home’s 1.2-acre grounds.
English manor: The working bar in this Tudor-style estate from 1925 is rumored to have been an underground speak-easy. Today, it’s just one of the many touches that give this six-bedroom home its signature old-world charm. Standout features include a circular driveway, mezzanine library, wine room, and gorgeous views.
Colonial craftsmanship: Padded faux-leather doors lead to this home’s speak-easy, which boasts vintage built-in seating and a bar with mahogany accents and mirrored shelves. Other show-stopping details in this custom-built residence from 193 include a large, domed ceiling light and brass staircase in the foyer and hand-carved plasterwork in the dining room.
Country English: With its signature diamond-pane windows out front, this 1926-built English country estate is rumored to have been a popular hangout for silent-film actors such as Tom Mix. Tipplers likely congregated in the speak-easy downstairs. Upstairs, the three-bedroom home boasts canyon views, high ceilings, and a guest suite with private entry.
Historic masterpiece: Originally built in 1878, this 7,900-square-foot home was rebuilt in 1992. Today, the six-bedroom residence has a state-of-the-art kitchen, heated walks, and a driveway. But we’re most intrigued by the lower-level speak-easy with stone walls, huge bar, pool table, and comfy seating.
Modern ranch: Built in 1954, this four-bedroom, 2,800-square-foot ranch was recently given an ultramodern makeover. In the temperature-controlled basement, behind a bookcase, you’ll find a space currently outfitted as a speak-easy with a fully equipped bar. According to the listing, the seller is motivated to make a deal on this open-concept home.
Multnomah Village: This four-bedroom Dutch Colonial was originally built in 1928 and has since received a glorious, contemporary renovation. Highlights include a home theater, game room, and, best of all, a basement bar with a speak-easy vibe and temperature-controlled wine cellar.