A decade ago, speakeasies were all the rage. Then these riffs on Prohibition-era cocktail lounges (with unmarked doors and passcodes for entry) practically disappeared. Some remained open—like The Blind Barber and Please Don’t Tell, both in New York City—but others quickly shuttered. Recent bar openings flaunt a speakeasy theme again—but with a new twist. They are showy and designed to impress but also feature layers that aren’t always visible the minute you walk in.
Last month's opening of The Barbershop at The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas is one example. With mismatched furnishings and an authentic 1800s Brunswick bar from Kentucky, “we avoided that new cool feeling and went with a warm, vintage, homey, lived-in feel,” says Clique Hospitality co-owner Jason ‘JRoc’ Craig (with Ryan Labbe), which operates the bar.
At the Barbershop, anything goes, including whiskey or beer on tap, with an intentional effort to separate from the classic craft-cocktail scene. “It’s a straight-up saloon,” says Labbe, “for lack of a better term.”