The best hidden bars in Mexico City
You know what Hanky Panky is, no need to explain the moniker. But, did you know that it’s also the name of a drink coined by the legendary Ada "Coley" Coleman at the Savoy Hotel in London, made with Fernet, vermouth and dry gin? We’re not allowed to divulge how this speakeasy is found but rest assured it would be difficult to stumble across it. We will give you a hint though: feign like you’re headed for the bathroom and you’ll be transported to an adult libation haven… welcome to Hanky Panky. If you’ve made it this far it’s surely because of word of mouth as this classic speakeasy does not advertise in any way. The finagling and sleuthing required to find this spot is entirely worth it once you’ve spent a night at a place which is impossible to find to begin with and ends with you exiting through a refrigerator door.
Go through the restaurant, towards the kitchen, open the commercial fridge door, and head down the stairs into the basement to uncover what the buzz is all about. But, don’t forget… it’s a secret! While it’s intimate and hidden, it’s not clandestine or illegal. It’s a highly classified secret that only the select few are privy to. The mystery was a key driver behind its popularity. The only way to find it has always been through word-of-mouth. Ever since it opened in 2012, Jules staked the claim of being the first speakeasy in all of Mexico. Everything here revolves around the secretive concept. But, don’t get confused, it’s not about elitism so much as it is about being able to sustain a comfortable space where everyone can enjoy a great cocktail, good music, and good company.
Remember the Key Maker scene in Matrix Reloaded (2003) where the room is full of doors and the area is sort of surreal and spatial? Well, Cigar Bar on the third floor of this multi-level joint on Molière 48 is kind of like that. The lower level is the Barro Negro Oaxacan restaurant. Up the stairs to the third floor is also a bizarre narrow space with a red phone booth and a wooden gate with a rectangular peephole. Through that door is Cigar Bar, so long as you know the password, while the door that appears to be armored is the entrance of Rockmore Club de Música; a real treat in and of itself. This place is secretive, dark, and very private – a perfect place to drink some cocktails and listen to your favorite music. If you want to get in, you’ll need to be on the list so, call ahead or send a message on Facebook. You’ll have to arrive with plenty of gumption since the way in is a little intimidating the first time: you’ll have to knock, and a doorman will lean out to ask for your name to confirm that you’re on the list before you can go inside.
Mexico City is full of surprises at every turn. It’s what makes the capital city so magical, discovering new gems is an almost daily occurrence. This go around, we found Xaman, a bar in the Juarez neighborhood that on one hand is well-hidden and at the same time is a totally integrated in the megalopolis. If you look closely, you’ll see the sign at the bottom of the stairs. This place stands alone from the rest of the street and is decorated with a desert theme and a shaman motif. It’s not your average Mexico City speakeasy either, with its peculiarly chill vibe and unique bar. You can head the lounge music in the background and the dim-lighting is akin to that of a spiritual cave retreat. There’s a rich collection of ingredients on the bar; vials of fragrant and aromatic tinctures and tonics. The mixologists here are French, Spanish, Mexican and English and they are true shamans of their trade, using their shakers and other tools to prepare mystifying and intense concoctions.