There’s nothing like the thrill of finding delicious food and drink in an undiscovered place. So-called hidden or “secret” restaurants have become increasingly popular over the last few years. Many have taken inspiration from old illegal speakeasy’s erected in the 1880’s after the idea came overseas from New York. Nowadays, it’s a lot less illegal and a lot more fun, with special passwords or knowhow required to gain entry to these wonderfully unique places. It’s no surprise they’ve become increasingly popular in the UK. Here’s a guide to the best secret restaurants in the UK:

1. The Vault Soho, London

The secret entrance to this bar adds to the excitement. The door is through a bookcase at the back of Soho Whisky specialist Milroy’s. You’ll sample delicious cocktails made from their whiskey and other strong spirits. This cosy bar has the feel of an underground club, with relaxed atmosphere and dark lighting.

2. The Washhouse, Manchester

This laundrette, believe it or not, is regarded as one of the best places to eat in Manchester. This cleverly disguised “laundrette” is actually home to a delectable cocktail bar with stylish ambiance and delicious food. The Washhouse is extremely popular, to get a booking you’ll need to call ahead to avoid disappointment at this buzzing bar.

Amazing bar! #washhouse #speakeasy #cocktails #secret #manchester

Ein Beitrag geteilt von Tom Aldred (@tom_aldred88) am

3. Speakeasy Bar, Birmingham

This bar is simply referred to as “Speakeasy Bar” because it’s so secret it doesn’t even have a name! To gain access to this exclusive hidden gem, you must call 0121 236 2400 and make reservations in advance. Once your booking has been accepted you’ll be provided with the secret location, somewhere in Birmingham City Centre. This bustling bar is not one to be missed if you’re ever in town.

4. Panda & Sons, Edinburgh

Panda & Sons is a simple family owned barber shop in Edinburgh city centre…from the outside. If you go inside, you’ll see a secret bookcase that will indeed lead you to an underground bar. With a range of fantastic cocktails on offer, this “barber shop” is an amazing place to visit if you’re looking for something different while in Edinburgh.

5. The Mayor of Scaredy Cat Town, London

The Mayor of Scaredy Cat Town can be accessed inside a restaurant from behind an inconspicuous fridge door. You’ll need to gain access to it by saying the “secret” password where you’ll then be welcomed inside. This dimly lit basement bar offers a cosy atmosphere with delicious cocktails from their special ever-changing menu.

We are here to see the Mayor🗝

Ein Beitrag geteilt von Charlotte (@charbouchard) am

6. Dusk Til Pawn, Manchester

From its exterior, you’d be forgiven for thinking this is nothing other than an old pawn shop. However, once you make your way inside you’ll be treated to an evening of craft cocktails, exclusive wines and beer. You’ll find the cool décor adds to the exciting atmosphere with this hidden gem, worth a visit the next time you’re in the area.


7. Ex-Directory, Liverpool

This bar is so secret that you can’t even gain entry via the door. You’ll need to call a number from a local telephone box, where you will then be provided with the location and granted access. Once inside, you’ll notice the impressive interior design and excellent customer service making your visit unforgettable.

Where will you go next?

You may bet more than you bargained for the next time you visit a new city with these fantastic hidden restaurants and bars. Whether you need a place to wash your clothes or somewhere to relax and read a good book; these secret bars in the UK have got you covered!

Sophie Lodge is a food lover and dedicated explorer. She’s visited over 15 countries and counting. Her life goal is to go to every country in the world! Find more of Sophie’s writing here.