You’d think Al Capone himself was peeking over your shoulder at Hyde Park’s best speakeasy.
[Note: This event is no longer happening but Gran Cabaret After Dark is more than capable of filling your Speakeasy needs.]
Speakeasies were a huge part of Chicago’s past and remain popular even today. These hidden gems harken back to prohibition-era Chicago when the jazz was hot, the burlesque hotter, and bootlegger booze was abundant. While modern speakeasies aren’t nearly as secret, they’re still a fun throwback to the 1920’s.
One of our favorite speakeasies is The Hyde, a hidden bar and performance venue in Hyde Park. Look for the red light next to Red Fish Bleu Fish restaurant in Hyde Park. If it’s on, enter for an experience outside the norm.
The Hyde is as close as you can get to a real speakeasy without traveling back in time. The owners really play up the 1920’s prohibition vibe. There’s a portrait of Al Capone on the wall, red booths line the wall, and the bar is stocked nearly wall to ceiling with liquor. With the low-lighting, whiskey barrel tables, and lofted balcony, the vibe really makes you feel like you’re hiding out to drink giggle water during prohibition.
The speakeasy is only open when the red light outside an unmarked door is lit. Once inside, you must abide by The Hyde’s strict rules. This place really isn’t playing around. While it’s unclear how they enforce these rules, we appreciate their tongue-in-cheek tone.
- No cellphone use inside the lounge.
- What happens at The Hyde stays at The Hyde.
- We don’t “Make It Strong.” Order a double.
- No shoes, no teeth, no service.
- No Cubs Fans.
- No Trump Supporters.
- Keep it classy and a little sassy.
- It’s Chicago, blame the prices on Chicago.
- If you can’t taste the alcohol, don’t order everything with cranberry juice.
- If you don’t like something we’re happy to fix it for you before you finish it.
- We are always right.
- If we are wrong please refer to Rule No. 12.
- $50 fine for bitching.
- If you’ve been waiting at the bar for two minutes, please tell us you’ve been waiting for 20 minutes. This keeps us on our toes as we have no sense of time.
- When the barkeep says you’ve had enough, you have!
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Live performances of jazz and burlesque enchant audiences at The Hyde. There’s often multiple shows a night, allowing you to bask in the vintage glow of the ’20s as long as you like. Every Fri is Jazz Night where local Chicago musicians play a mix of classic and contemporary tunes. On alternating Fridays, the burlesque show “The Hyde After Dark” takes the stage at 8 p.m. for a breathtaking night of vintage debauchery from Chicago burlesque group Bim Bam Boom.
Want more burlesque? One Sat a month, The Hyde’s Authentic American Burlesque show takes up residency in the popular speakeasy. Each show features comical hosts, fantastic guests, and Chicago’s best burlesque entertainers. You’ll hardly believe your eyes!
Another tantalizing display of talent is Raks Inferno, a unique show featuring fire spinners, belly dancers, and other incredible performers that have appeared on NBC, MSN, and more. Don’t miss this monthly one-of-a-kind show the fourth Sat of every month.
The last Sat of every month put on your dancing shoes for Mr. Lucky and His Orchestra of Tomorrow. Retro attire is highly encouraged for this hip, swinging night of frivolity and dancing.
Another incredible jazz group is Bump, a classic trio featuring Evan Salvacion Levine (bass), Neil Carson (saxophone) and Matt Smalligan (drums). You can look forward to an evening of smooth, eclectic jazz from three of Chicago’s best musicians the third Thurs every month.
The Hyde also hosts a number of special events and private parties throughout the year, some of which you need a password to enter. For New Year’s Eve, the bar hosted a 1919 themed party and burlesque show to restart the ’20s in the modern era. In Feb, the Hyde will host “Coffin Cabaret”, an evening of spooktacular burlesque from the producers behind the Chicago Vampire Ball. The cabaret will run every 2nd Sat of the month starting Feb 8.
This event is no longer taking place in Chicago, but Gran Cabaret After Dark is more than capable of filling your Speakeasy needs.
You must be 21+ to enter and follow The Hyde’s strict dress code: no hats, no sportswear, no large bags or purses. Please drink responsibly and make sure you have a safe ride home or use public transit.
Feature image courtesy of The Hyde.