Hidden Gems: Akron has two modern-day speakeasies filled with history and mystery


Baxter's Speakeasy

A scene reminiscent of a former era inside Baxter’s speakeasy.

By Camryn Moore, Correspondent

A graphic Baxter’s uses to promote the speakeasy, this artwork leans heavily into the 1920s prohibition era aesthetic.

During the Prohibition Era in the 1920s, alcohol sales were illegal, so bartenders, bars and saloons created a secret place for their customers to continue to partake. The term “Speakeasy” was coined to keep these covert businesses exactly that. Patrons had to have a password to enter these establishments to keep them private.  

Today, some modern-day speakeasies have found themselves holding onto the mystery of history right here in Akron.  

Northside Speakeasy at 31 Furnace St. and Baxter’s Speakeasy at 22. N. High St. are just two of these secluded bars located in town.   

Northside Speakeasy has been creating handcrafted cocktails for seven years now.  

Matt Watson, general manager of the Northside Speakeasy said, “When the Northside Speakeasy was built, [it was designed] with secret entrances to honor the history and tradition behind the true hidden bars of the prohibition era.”  

Northside’s main entrance is found tucked behind a ‘seemingly’ normal newsstand and a side entrance can be revealed by entering a red phone booth.  

Northside is set apart by its carefully curated ingredients and liquors, which its mixologists use to make quality craft cocktails. The presentation that comes with the drink is something Watson prides himself on. The Northside employees have a passion for mixology, illustrating an ever-evolving menu of art. 

Baxter’s Speakeasy, another specialty bar in Akron, has been open since Oct. 2020. The spot has been a work in progress passion project for founder, Timothy Baxter, since 2014.  

Originating in Los Angeles, Baxter’s Speakeasy now serves as a “multi-use collaborative safe space for many artists, musicians, activists, patrons and community organizers to explore their passions,” Baxter, founder, creative director, chef and owner, said.  

Baxter’s Speakeasy prides itself on being different than other speakeasies.  

“We are a protest. We are a queer disco-tech for all. We are the kitschiest place in town,” he said. “We are here to lift people up. We are unique and focused on our brand. We are community activists. Choose your own adventure!”  

Although speakeasies aren’t exactly necessary, since the prohibition era ended just under a century ago, but the end of that era wasn’t the end of the mystery hiding behind secluded doors here in Akron, Ohio.