A Speakeasy Is Hiding Inside New York City's JFK Airport — and We Know Where to Find It

A Prohibition-era bar is hidden inside the American Express Centurion Lounge at New York City's largest airport.

The speakeasy interior with Art Deco design style at the JFK Centurion Lounge
Photo: Courtesy of American Express

Somewhere inside New York's John F. Kennedy International Airport is one of the city's best speakeasies that you can enjoy if you know where to look — and if you're an American Express cardholder with Centurion Lounge access.

OK, we'll give away some clues: The "1850" Speakeasy Bar is tucked behind a copper-paneled wall inside American Express' flagship Centurion Lounge in terminal 4. While the bar itself is located out of sight, there is no password required to enter, a rep told Travel + Leisure.

The hidden bar, named after the year American Express was founded, channels Prohibition-era vibes in its concept and design, as well as its classic cocktails from noted New York City mixologist Jim Meehan, best known for his East Village speakeasy PDT (Please Don't Tell), which is accessible from a phone booth inside the hot dog shop, Crif Dogs.

"So many legendary cocktails have come out of New York City over the years, based around a variety of different spirits," Meehan said in a statement. "With New York classics meets travel as the main theme, I've come up with a rotating cocktail menu that is experiential in nature and gives a nod to some of the city's greatest bars."

Centurion Lounge Mixologist Jim Meehan’s Take on an Espresso Martini Featuring Irving Farms Coffee
Courtesy of American Express

Among the many featured cocktails are an espresso martini and a boulevardier. By day, the space also serves as a café.

The speakeasy is just one part of the new 15,000-square-foot space, currently the largest lounge in the Centurion collection until the 26,000-square-foot Atlanta lounge opens in 2023, as well as the first with two floors. With floor-to-ceiling windows for vast airport views, the interior features design elements inspired by New York City landmarks, including New York City taxi cab meters and a custom piece from mosaic factory SICIS that likens the city's subway art.

Entrance door to Equinox Body Lab at the JFK Airport Centurion Lounge
Courtesy of American Express

Also inside the lounge is an Equinox Body Lab — a pre-flight experience with therapies like app-driven meditations and stretching, as well as a vibroacoustic chair — and curated menu offerings from four-time James Beard Award-nominated chef and New Yorker Ignacio Mattos, who serves as the executive chef.

"What I've created is a menu that's refined, eclectic, exciting, and elegant, representing what I love most about New York City and its diverse communities," Mattos, known for his Michelin-star Estela restaurant, said in a statement. Menu offerings include caciocavallo and egg sandwich with tomato marmalade, fennel salad with castelvetrano olives, and provolone and steak with romesco and taleggio sauces, among other delicious dishes.

The lounge also serves coffee from Irving Farm New York and local wines selected by Centurion Lounge wine director Anthony Giglio.

While the speakeasy is the first of its kind in the Centurion Lounges, Meehan has long been working with the premium lounges as the exclusive mixologist for its locations at airports in Las Vegas, Dallas/Fort Worth, Miami, Seattle-Tacoma, Houston, Philadelphia, San Francisco, New York's LaGuardia, and Hong Kong.

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