7 More Speakeasies Within a Five-Hour Drive of Raleigh

WEB EXCLUSIVE Got a hankering for some hooch? These speakeasies within five hours of Raleigh are worth the drive.

Our February Best Bars issue brought you 7 select speakeasies within a five-hour drive of Raleigh. And here to add a little more je ne sais quoi to your nightlife routine are 7 more juice joints worth daytripping for. Offering a change of scenery, a little mystery (secret entrances and passwords, oh my!) and some serious booze-forward libations, these blind pig picks also promise to be the bee’s knees for back-alley boozehounds. Pro tip: Grab a hotel and turn your speakeasy sesh into a weekend stay. Or make a 2022 bucket list to try them all. Cheers!

The Mirror

DC | 4.5-hour drive

Mirror, mirror, what are you hiding behind that wall? Located only three blocks from The White House, The Mirror is accessible by heading down some concrete stairs next to an empty office building and pulling back a mirror (pretty on brand, right?). Over 100 years after Prohibition, the intimate speakeasy keeps the party going with drinking, dancing and breaking the rules. 

The Whig

Columbia, SC | 3.5-hour drive

It’s always best to look below the surface—especially when there’s booze involved. This dark and eclectically decorated basement dive bar serves up some serious bevs—with some serious spooky vibes to boot—plus hearty pub fare, seasonal drinks and beer on tap. If you tap it, they will come…

The Jailhouse

Belmont, NC | 2.5-hour drive

We’ll have some Jailhouse… on the rocks! This historic 1960s era bar and cigar lounge is located within the cells of downtown Belmont’s former jail—so criminal. So if you’re into whiskey business, steal around to the back of the building for entry. Once inside, explore the concrete-covered rooms with snaps from the past; then snag a seat at the steel-top bar or puff on a cigar in the downstairs lounge. And don’t worry: Here, you’re only potential crime is ordering too many cocktails. But, hey, when in jail… 

Lost Saint

Charlottesville, VA | 3.5-hour drive

Once a grocery (hence the name), this circa 1820 building now houses restaurant Tavern & Grocery… but creep down the back staircase and you’ll find cellar cocktail bar Lost Saint, which boasts a relaxed and friendly yet sophisticated vintage atmosphere and an impressive wine and cocktail menu totes worth descending for.  


Roanoke, VA | 3-hour drive

Craving a post-pizza dinner adventure? Head to the unmarked entrance next door to Italian restaurant Fortunato and find yourself in this cozy speakeasy serving up classic and craft cocktails (set to reopen soon!). There’s no better way to lift your spirits

Earnest Money & Sons

Wilmington, NC | 2-hour drive

If you’re into socializing and a smidge of tomfoolery, this small members-only speakeasy is for you. Known for its thoughtful cocktails (plus interesting wines and local and regional beers), Earnest Money & Sons is the captivating combination of your friendly neighborhood bar and the thrilling mystery of an old-time speakeasy. 

Bar Vauté

Charleston, SC | 4-hour drive

Je ne regrette rien. No regrets indeed as you slip down the original historic staircase at this French Brasserie la Banque, where you’ll be instantly transported back in time (and across the Atlantic) via art deco-inspired furnishings and an intimate bar. Pop a squat and indulge in Parisian eats like French onion soup, steak frites, and duck leg while sipping on creative cocktails. Ooh, la, la!

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Angela Brown
Angela Brown is the author of our Business & Economy section.