Sacramento Speakeasies You May Not Know About
Mar 10, 2017
Travel back in time to the Prohibition era with a visit to a secretive speakeasy in Sacramento. These under-the-radar cocktail lounges and taprooms have environments, rules and libations reminiscent of the 1920s and early 1930s, when alcohol was prohibited throughout the entire country.
Some are easy to find and prominent on the map, while others take a little more searching. Let us be your guide to the underground network of speakeasies throughout the city!
Photo Courtesy of Ruhstaller
This central taproom in the heart of downtown Sacramento has a rare exclusive feel, as it is located in the basement of Ruhstaller Brewery. However, the easiest way to access this hidden taproom is on the corner of K and 7th Streets in the alleyway behind the bus stop. Once you find its location, you must then ring the bell to gain access to the taproom. All this searching will be well worth it once you’re inside this comfortable, dog-friendly taproom serving delicious history-rich brews made with California hops and barley.
Back Door Lounge
Back Door Lounge is only accessible through (you guessed it) the back door of this vintage lounge in Old Sacramento. You will find the entrance on a clearly marked red wall behind the courtyard of the Firehouse Restaurant. The place is not usually packed or overwhelming, but maintains a steady flow of regulars and curious wanderers discovering the place for the very first time!
Photos Courtesy of Graciano’s Chicago Deep Dish Pizza & Speakeasy
Graciano’s is the perfect destination if you’re after an off-the-grid drinking experience and also need to grab a bite to eat. Complement their amazing deep dish pizza, pasta or other dishes with a creative cocktail crafted by their expert bartenders. Sit back and relax in Graciano’s swanky speakeasy environment in the heart of Old Sacramento. You’ll find the sign along the cobblestone-lined Front Street amongst charming and historic buildings near the river.
Photo Courtesy of River City Saloon
River City Saloon in Old Sacramento has a long and complex history dating back to 1857, and is now Sacramento’s last Old West saloon. During the Prohibition, it was continually raided as the owners insisted they were only serving Sarsaparilla and alcohol for medicinal reasons. Today, you’ll find a restored space that resembles its original grandeur — even down to the wallpaper. Belly up to the bar, grab a basket of peanuts, throw the shells on the floor, and order the Old West Sarsaparilla brewed exclusively for River City Saloon by River City Brewing Company.
While the Shady Lady Saloon is not necessarily a speakeasy in practice, it emits a Prohibition-era theme quite eloquently. From the vintage furniture and artwork to the moody lighting and atmosphere, you’ll feel as though you stepped back in time at the Shady Lady. Their expert bartenders will create a delicious seasonal cocktail — or whatever concoction you’re craving! Don’t miss their frequent live music events featuring a variety of styles including jazz, blues, country and more.
Wrap all of these delightful speakeasies (and possibly more under-the-radar lounges…) into a historic and fascinating tour of Prohibition-era watering holes. Meet up with Sacramento history buff and Downtown Sacramento Partnership guide, Shawn Peter, for a special excursion starting at the River City Saloon. You’ll make three additional stops, including a tour of the Delta King riverboat, which once served as a floating hotspot for illegal drinking, jazz bands, gambling and fine dining.
Join this insightful tour on the third Saturday of the month between May and August, rain or shine!
What secretive Sacramento spots do you know about?