Hidden behind one of the doors on Factors Walk is a secret speakeasy with jazz singers, burlesque performers and plenty of libations. There’s no sign or any other indication what’s behind the door—you may have walked past it a hundred times and never known the world behind it.
The House of Mata Hari is a private bar that is only accessible by knowing someone with a key. Much of the details surrounding the bar are hazy to protect its secret identity, so you’ll have to find a key to experience the magic for yourself. That’s exactly what makes the experience so special—it feels like a real speakeasy, which originated as Prohibition-era establishment that illegally sold booze.
The term “speakeasy” itself is a sort of directive: people who frequented the establishments would speak quietly, or “easily,” about the place so the cops wouldn’t get called. Mata Hari is the same way, but minus the illegality that made speakeasies feel like such a mysterious, illicit place.
If you do snag a key and gain entrance to Mata Hari, revel in the secrecy of the place. After all, what’s more fun than immersing yourself in a theme? Wear your snazziest clothes, drink some absinthe, and keep your lips zipped. —Rachael Flora
Runner-up: Alley Cat Lounge