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The Cocktail Underground

Take a sip of Providence’s speak-easy bars.

You'll find The Dean Bar tucked into a cozy corner of The Dean Hotel.

(Photo: Christian Harder)

In a city with as rich a food scene as Providence, it’s easy to get a great cocktail. But if there’s a little bit of a scavenger hunt to find it? Even better.

The Creative Capital gets truly inventive when it comes to its underground drinking scene. Here are some speak-easies with hidden entrances in Providence that are worth finding.

Remember to enjoy responsibly and always designate a sober driver.

Justine’s

11 Olneyville Square

Blink and you’ll miss the lingerie store in Olneyville Square that disguises the entrance to Justine’s, a quiet lounge with swanky Parisian-inspired decor and, as the night goes on, movies that project from the mirrors behind the bar. There’s an $8 menu of Prohibition Era-cocktails like the Charlie Chaplin and the Mary Pickford, and a slightly more expensive selection of house cocktails like the Free Man in Paris, made with gin, apricot liqueur, Aperol, lime and absinthe.

Far West

55 Cromwell St.

The door to Far West isn’t hard to find – once you make it in the building, that is. This tiny 25-seat bar is inside Rooms & Works, a rehabbed factory building that’s now mixed-use business and residential space on the “far west” side of the city. Hit “075” on the keypad to get in and hope for the best to get a coveted seat inside the bar. Every month, Far West creates a new, themed menu: October was Stephen King, and December was, of course, Charles Dickens.

Courtland Club

51 Courtland St.

What started as a members-only club on Federal Hill has now become an “only if you can find it” club. Behind an unmarked door on Courtland Street, Courtland Club serves up small bites and inventive cocktails like the Japanese Julep, made with whiskey and shiso. The building has roots dating to the 1940s as a members-only club, and this bar still offers memberships, but now they’re for exclusive access to food events and private liquor lockers.

The Dean Bar

122 Fountain St.

To find The Dean Bar, you’ve got to go in through the lobby of The Dean Hotel, pass the elevators, and take a left at the heavy velvet curtains. You’ll know you’ve gone too far if you hit the Japanese-inspired private karaoke lounge in the back of this hip hotel. The cozy lounge focuses on invention and innovation, serving cocktails with hard-to-find spirits that you may not have heard of, but will be glad you did once you take a sip.

Check out more buzzworthy destinations at AAA.com/CityGuide.

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