Speakeasy is a cool gay bar in the heart of Merchant City. By day it feels like a chilled-out local, and by night it's a quirky, camp party palace, with a rocking roster of entertainment.
Speakeasy isn't quite a speakeasy. Rather than a covert secret bar, a sign over the door points you in the right direction, and once inside, you can choose between heading to nightclub, FHQ upstairs, or into the bar on ground level. Once inside, Speakeasy is something of a mixed bag. Part regular boozer, the bar area looks pretty pubby, there's gastro grub on the menu, a pool table off to the side, and TVs showing sport dotted around the room. But on the other side there's sumptuous red leather booths, padded walls bathroom doors concealed in the wall, quirky games and kitsch features and a weekly roster of fun and frolics that includes a heavy 80s soundtrack, lots of disco dancing, and of course, some serious karaoke.
The Atmosphere and Clientele
Speakeasy has a rather dedicated collection of regulars, but that doesn't mean newbies aren't welcomed with opening arms. We visited in the early evening as punters were beginning to file in, and found a predominantly male crowd, small clusters of friends chatted and drank, against a soundtrack that leaned heavy on old school Madonna. The booths remained empty, and most people sat close to the bar, which gave the vibe of a local pub more than a bustling City Centre gay bar, but later on as the bar began to heave the tables filled up with larger groups, out for the night or in for the evening's entertainment. This bar manages to strike the party bar/pub balance spot on.
Food & Drink
Speakeasy offers an extensive collection of cocktails, for less than a fiver, as well as sweet teapot sharers. We enjoyed the Seckle Sidecar (a decidedly sweet pear and orange creation) and a Pimms Cup, which was a nice splash of July sunshine on a cold wintery evening. While we didn't dig in to the kitchen offerings, highlights on the menu include the chicken tikka “invented in Glasgow” masala and a white chocolate raspberry cheesecake.
Speakeasy is a nice place to go for a drink, but it's an even better place to go for a dance. Head in a little later to enter a lively disco bar with pumping party tunes, raucous dance moves, and delicious cocktails.