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ROME’S SECRET SPEAKEASY BARS

Not as much of a secret as they were in the days of Prohibition, the Eternal City is home not only to some of the finest sites and dining in the world, but also a tantalizing array of “naughty but oh, so nice”, hidden speakeasy cocktail dens.

Part of their appeal is that they are hard to find and not familiar to many people, neither foreign nor local. Yet, besides the Alice in Wonderland and anachronistic sensation which they evoke, they are imbued with rainbows of flavorsome cocktails. In fact they offer some of the finest and most sought-after liquid concoctions in all of Europe: perfect for both the amateur drinker as well as the more mature and sophisticated palate.

A bit of background – the term “Speakeasy” originated, interestingly enough, from the idea of firstly keeping your voice down whilst whetting your whistle within the bar (one can imagine with a chuckle the Charlie Chaplinesque “silent bar brawls” that must have broken out in hushed tones!), and secondly, to imply that one must never speak of their existence in public. Both to avoid detection by the authorities, of course.

Another noteworthy aspect of the speakeasy bars was the way in which they were concealed. In Rome one is carefully concealed behind a vintage phone booth, another behind a wardrobe in the corner of a restaurant. Some require a password to get in. But with this brief guide you’ll be able to gain access to what we consider to be the very best of Rome’s clandestine drinking spots.

The Corner Club:

Hidden within a stunning turn-of-the-century villa which is a boutique hotel with a most elegant restaurant and bistro (Bistreet), is the Parisian, boudoir-style speakeasy, The Corner Club. Open until the early hours of the morning, it has only about 20 seats, so best to get there earlier rather than later. With its carefully chosen décor, provocative intimacy and fabulous cocktail selection, it is located via a telephone cabinet where those in the know vanish after lifting the receiver and entering the “secret” number. Mysterious and not to be missed, on normal nights, when not being used for a private function, the phone is left unlocked.

Find The Corner Club in Viale Aventino 121, Mon – Sun, 7pm – 4am (+39 06 5742 149).

The Jerry Thomas Project:

Get on your 1920’s vibe and pop on into the JTP, that is, if you can find it! The brainchild of three internationally experienced barmen who came together to add extra flair to Roma’s nightlife, this funky speakeasy was the very first on the Roman landscape. Known as the top spot for chefs and barmen to unite, it is still regarded as the best in the game to those in the know. With a collection of over 800 bottles of spirits and their own production of artisan gin, vermouth and bitters, the tongue-tingling booze is accompanied by the wailing of top jazz musicians on Tuesdays and weekends. Concealed behind a door a neat little plate with the words “Professor Jerry Thomas” inscribed on it, access is given first to members, the lucky few who know the password, but if you call 24 hours in advance to reserve a couple of the limited 35 seats, you can get in without a membership or password.

Find the Jerry Thomas Project in Vicolo Cellini 30, Tues – Sat, 9pm – 4am

Club Derriere:

With a shabby chic bar area, bottles of colorful booze lined up like soldiers all the way to the ceiling, walls of brick and mortar and a really laid-back atmosphere, Club Derriere offers just the right sense of exclusivity and with no cell phone signal, a genuinely intimate experience. The den-like secrecy was heightened after its creator wall up the only windows and doors opening onto the adjacent piazza. And the entrance then, you rightly ask? It is hidden in/ behind a large white wardrobe which serves as the only point of access. Live jazz on weekend nights, no beer or wine, but the willingness to whip up any concoction that the patron might request, make Club Derriere the place to go for artisan liquors and a genuine Prohibition vibe.

Find Club Derriere in Vicolo delle Coppelle 59, Mon – Sat, 8pm – 4:30am / Sun, 12 – 4pm and 6pm – 2am

Argot:

Another classic on the secret bar scene is this members-only underground speakeasy. On arrival one finds no more than a plain door with no sign or indication to reveal its charming and elegant cellar which is home to some of the city’s finest liquid refreshments. On arrival the doorman requires little encouragement before he accompanies you to meet the owners/barmen who, once having had a good look at you to be sure that you deserve a seat, will instantly make you members for a very small fee, less than 10 euros. Beware – once you take a seat in this richly vibrant little bar, it will take some work to convince you to leave. Regular live gigs and carefully concocted top-notch cocktails will keep you on your sofa well into the early hours.

Find Argot in Via dei Cappellari 93, Tue – Sat, 10:30pm – 5am / Sun, 7pm – 4am

TESTIMONIALS

Christopher JohnsonChristopher Johnson
23:09 30 Jan 24
Mark and Tiffany did an excellent job planning my trip to Italy. The attention to detail was on point and helped make a truly incredible and memorable experience. Their knowledge of the language, culture and everything in between was truly superior and I'd highly recommend Immersive Italy Tours to anyone looking for a great adventure!
Charm CleaningCharm Cleaning
17:08 23 Jan 24
Mark and Tiffany did such an amazing job helping me plan my trip to Italy last year! They were very professional and took the time to listen to everything that I wanted to do in Italy.They were super helpful with every step of the planning process and I felt ZERO stress when I was preparing for the trip. This was the most memorable trip of my life and thank you again Mark and Tiffany!!!I recommend that you 100% hire them to book your tripod Italy.
Nicole RomanNicole Roman
21:24 16 Jan 24
Tiffany has helped plan two trips to Italy so far, and both times we had an excellent experience! Her knowledge of the region is remarkable, and she was very attentive to our needs. Our first trip was spent in Rome, Florence and Venice, with a trip to the Vatican. The second trip was to Sorrento and Positano. Both trips were so memorable, thanks in large part to Tiffany's masterful planning! We will definitely be using Immersive Italy again in the future!
Monica McQueenMonica McQueen
15:53 26 Oct 23
Mark & Tiffany did such a fabulous job - I cannot recommend them enough (in fact, I've told everyone I can about them). I used them to plan my 50th Birthday Girls' Trip, as I've never been to Europe. I'm an event planner with very high standards for details, and they both made my trip experience so relaxing, from buying all the train tickets to arranging private tours and drivers, to knowing where we needed to spend extra time and the order of seeing the cities and which restaurants and bars to go to. I especially appreciated their tremendous support with little things while we were there - I actually never thought we'd hear from them while there, due to the time difference, but they were so attentive, making sure we got where we needed to be at all traveling points. Beyond that, they're extraordinarily nice people, and we felt like they were part of our trip family. They paid attention to all of my 'wish list' items (cooking classes, winery tours/tastings, boat trips, food tours) and created a completely over-the-top feeling, custom trip and for much less than I would have thought it would cost. They went above and beyond every step of the way, and I can't wait until I can plan another trip with their help.
Colleen OmanColleen Oman
23:24 26 Jul 23
Mark and Tiffany did an exceptional job planning and organizing our trip…. Highly recommend using their services!
Am NorgrenAm Norgren
00:13 21 Jul 23
I learned about Immersive Italy Tours while I was recently traveling in Italy, and I'm glad I did! Mark shared an outline of experiences and detailed recommendations for the area I was visiting, and it saved me tons of time that I would have spent searching. Highly recommend!
Bill MurphyBill Murphy
15:33 15 Jul 23
Mark and Tiffany planned an amazing trip for us! Their professionalism and attention to detail made our trip such a memorable experience. The travel was seamless and very easy. Definitely hire Immersive Italy to plan your trip.
Kim PanzanaroKim Panzanaro
20:50 29 Jun 23
Tiffany and Mark were amazing! They helped us plan our trip from NY to Rome, Florence, Ischia, and sorrento! They set up all of our travel plans within italy on the high speed trains and ferry to and from ischia. The excisions they arranged we awesome! The private day trip to Tuscany was an absolute dream with lunch at a winery and visits to Siena and San Gimignano. We had a private boat to take us out for the day around Capri that was the best! Can’t wait to go back and do it all again, with immersive Italy’s help, of course!
Kate KennedyKate Kennedy
22:28 19 Jun 23
Our family vacation was an absolutely amazing, fully customized, unique Italian experience thanks to Immersive Italy! There’s so much to do and see there — it’s so exciting, but it can feel overwhelming when planning — that’s why we were so thankful to have expert guidance every step of the way. From coordinating our overall itinerary, train travel and professional ground transportation to specially selected tours — each experience went smoothly and took the stress out of the logistics so we could enjoy each moment. It was refreshing to know if we needed help during our trip, the team was extremely communicative and available to offer personalized assistance. We loved our private tours of some of the top tourist attractions, including: the Vatican, Colosseum and Pompeii. The English speaking guides were passionate, knowledgeable and friendly — and skipping the massively long lines to walk right in was so worth it! We especially enjoyed our private wine tour in Tuscany and day trip boating excursion to Capri — unbelievably special, amazing experiences! Huge thanks to Immersive Italy for memories that will last a lifetime.
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