The Speakeasy
The Speakeasy
Theaters • Cabarets • Theatre & Performances
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7:25 PM - 11:30 PM
7:25 PM - 11:30 PM
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San Francisco’s most extravagant and decadent nightlife party! Get dolled up and step back in time to the roaring 20’s for an evening of romance, spectacle and celebration in this “choose-your-own-adventure” immersive experience. Cabaret, casino, and plenty of hidden rooms to explore.
Suggested duration
2-3 hours
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The area
Neighborhood: Chinatown
As the oldest in North America, San Francisco's Chinatown is an exotic experience. A unique neighborhood decorated with colorful shops, historic streetlights, hanging lanterns, and pagoda roofs awaits behind the stone-carved dragon gates. Feast on dim sum at the tea houses, or meet the locals who gather at historic Portsmouth Square to play chess or practice Tai Chi. Fish markets, produce stands, tourist shops, jewelry stores, fortune tellers, temples and restaurants come together to create a world unto itself in this historic neighborhood.
Detailed Reviews: Reviews order informed by descriptiveness of user-identified themes such as cleanliness, atmosphere, general tips and location information.
Popular mentions

563 reviews
Very good

Winnipeg, Canada1,232 contributions
Oct 2017 • Couples
The Speakeasy was fun and exciting! Once we stepped through the Grandfather clock we stepped into a different world. The cast, music, drinks and the detail of this performance is truly enjoyable. I loved the ending. Amazing show!!!
Written July 8, 2018
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

San Francisco, CA1 contribution
Sep 2017 • Couples
This is a wonderful and stunning trip back into San Francisco in 1923. Realistic Speakeasy setup Great Performances singers and actors. Immersive Theatre at its best! It's a must-see show.
Written September 13, 2017
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Gail R
Berkeley, CA43 contributions
Jul 2017 • Family
The Speakeasy transports you back to the 1920's with vaudeville, show girls, singing, gambling, great drinks (loved the Velvet Sea) and humor. You don't interact with the performers (unless they pull you in which sometimes happens) but you walk around the different rooms, seeing whatever strikes your fancy. Try to dress the part, if possible (you won't feel out of place if you don't go all out in 1920's attire but you'll probably feel more comfortable at least adding some touches like suspenders/hat for guys, dress/hat or headband for women). I hope to make it back some day - it's impossible to take it all in with one visit.
Written September 6, 2017
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Elizabeth S
Paradise Valley, AZ42 contributions
Oct 2022
My partner and I attended the SF Nude Noir event last night, and were breathtakingly disappointed. The acts were few and far between, repetitive, and unimaginative. After the ad nauseum teasing prior to the event, what a let down!! We attended my first burlesque show earlier this month, The Empire Strips Back, which was a fine production: professionally done, cheaper, longer, hilarious and very exciting all rolled into one.

After viewing the photos from the London Nudes Noir, I expected much more. For $375 each, what a rip-off. The bartender was a fine fellow, however. Made a great Manhattan.
Written October 16, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Nevada28 contributions
Apr 2017 • Solo
TripAdvisor has informed me the review I originally submitted for the Speakeasy covered too many subjects and must be re-submitted as separate reviews for each experience. As the Speakeasy is a combination of various experiences; and TripAdvisor will not allow multiple reviews of the same location by the same person; I don't know how I can submit separate reviews. So I will simply list the facts of my visit as I experienced them:

While other reviews state this is immersive or even interactive theatre, in my experience it is not. The performances generally occur in the same spaces the customers/audience inhabits; the customer is told not to approach or speak with an actor unless the actor talks with you first. I noticed a few customers were asked to respond to a question or play a bit part in a joke.

The location advertises itself as a 1923 setting; in the music, acts, costumes, props and overall presentation I saw various time periods from the 19-teens – 1940's, with no real attempt to create the illusion of 1923 or even the early 1920's, but rather a a general 'nostalgic' feeling of some time in the past.

As I walked up to the doorway of the Speakeasy, I was stopped by a bouncer in modern clothes, just as you'd see at any bar or club. He told me I should have a password – which I never received. He called another employee (who was in 1920's costume), and she told me I should have a password. After two more employees were called, I was told I should have received a text with the password and instructions. I never received this text. I was asked to show them my phone to confirm I did not receive this message. I did not bring my phone as the website stated 'this is 1923, we don't have any modern electronics'. I did bring a printout of my purchase screen, and even then I felt like the employees suspected I was trying to sneak in or otherwise didn't purchase a ticket. Talking to four employees and trying to get in took about 20 minutes.

When they finally believed I was a legitimate customer, I was taken into the Casino, which I had paid additional for 'early entrance'. By the time I was allowed to enter, most of that early entrance time was gone and the acts had begun. I purchased gaming chips which I never received although the purchase was indicated on my printout.

I purchased specific seating, for each time block during the evening, in the showroom (Cabaret). This was indicated on my printout. I asked three employees in the showroom which seating corresponds to what I purchased, and no one seemed to know until one employee told me to sit at the nearest table, which still had the remains of the previous customers half-eaten food and drinks.

Some customers did their best to dress in 1920's clothing. Others wore generic 1980's – 2000's party dresses and business suits. Two guys were in Dockers, button down shirts and loafers. This further detracted from the advertised '1923' atmosphere. I know the Speakeasy can't control what customers wear, but if they want to create the 1923 atmosphere they advertise, they could at least provide costumes on site to borrow or rent.

There are multiple storylines occurring concurrently and sometimes overlapping with the same characters in associated stories. Some of these stories become dark and adult-oriented very quickly. It would be impossible to follow every storyline, yet these stories continue, in real time, throughout the Speakeasy, within multiple locations, so if you as the customer happen upon actors, they may be in the middle of a performance that is continuing from another room, and it is easy to not understand or misunderstand what is happening, and if there is any meaning or message the writers intended the audience to experience, it is easily overlooked or misinterpreted.

All the actors are generally acceptable, giving it their best but sometimes are over the top. The actor who portrays the showroom Master of Ceremonies is the only actor I noted who created a character and took that character through a complete story arc, rather than just 'playing' a character. Among many variety acts, singing, dancing, and other Vaudeville-type performances, he is the highlight of the show and possibly of the entire evening.

The after-hours Club 23 is advertised as an opportunity for more personal interaction with the characters along with music and gaming in the bar and casino. This turned out to be nothing more than an after-party for performers, staff and their guests. If I had known this was an out-of-character happy hour, I would not have purchased tickets. The casino/gaming tables were closed when customers were re-admitted to Club 23, and the 'secret panel' doors to the bar closed and it appeared were locked shortly afterward. Many people tried to open these doors but could not – maybe you need to know the secret access. One girl was looking for a bathroom and had to ask her friend to take her through the employee passages. Someone was playing a piano but the talking, laughing, and for some reason frequent yelling across the room was too loud to hear the music. About an hour and a half after Club 23 began someone opened one of the hidden doors and I decided to leave. I noticed at some time the casino had opened because three our four people were gaming. I had planned on gaming, also, but couldn't as I never received the chips I purchased.

The company that operates the Speakeasy has outlined they are looking for financing to open additional locations and experiences. Based upon my experience, if they obtain the resources to expand, I hope they work on tightening their presentation and provide the 'immersion' they advertise; decide what message, if any, they want the customer to take away from their show; and they actually deliver the various seating and add-ons the customer has paid for.

The performers work hard and I would like to give a higher rating. But the entire experience, from the questionable, time-wasting entry mix-up, to the actors wrap party advertised as an opportunity to enjoy 'variety acts, members of the elite and gaming', I can't rate higher than a 2 and would give a 1.5 if possible.
Written May 18, 2017
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

San Francisco, CA2 contributions
Jun 2018
Friends and I spent an evening at The Speakeasy SF. The space is over the top amazing and very 1920’s. I literally felt like I was in a 1920’s speakeasy. The actors were amazing, and it ends there. The service from the non-actor staff was some of the worst I have experienced.

I was treated very poorly before I even entered the space. The door person told me that I would need to check my jacket because it was too casual and that the venue was black tie. No one in line was wearing black tie (I work in fashion and know how to dress for occasions such as this). After a few moments of debating (who debates with customers?) if my jacket was appropriate, I was allowed to enter.

Once inside, I found my way to the bar and the bartender had major attitude and was being extremely rude when I asked a simple drink related question. Soon after, two friends and I were walking to another space and I was told to stay back and wait while my other 2 friends were ushered up a set of stairs. After waiting for a few moments as instructed, I again approached who appeared to be a security guard and was very rudely told to go away that upstairs was off limits, and no, this was not an actor or a scene.

To top it off, when I went to settle my bar tab at the end of the evening (and asked for a receipt when my card came back) the bartender handed my card off to someone who disappeared, and after over 10 minutes of waiting for my card back I was rudely told to “hold on” when asking where my card was. Alas my card came back, but without a receipt. I asked for a manager so I could settle up and get my receipt. The manager came over but was unable to produce a proper receipt. I was presented with a print out without a total tab amount, venue name or a total of charges to my card (which is very illegal). When checking my account online the next morning, as expected, I was over charged by $13. Not a huge amount, but a $13 charge that I did not authorize or sign a receipt for.

Written June 2, 2018
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Half Moon Bay, CA1 contribution
Jun 2017 • Friends
On the plus side, the interior design was excellent, the performers were very good, and they seemed to be pretty well organized - producing/directing/stage managing that many areas is quite an accomplishment. The 2 main problems for me were being trapped in the building (on purpose) at the end of the night and not getting enough of any storyline to understand anything by the end of the night. I won't give examples so as not to ruin anything for anyone else, but I didn't get enough of ANY storyline to understand anything of what happened by the end of the night (and I was there at the very very beginning). It would have been better if there was some type of expected rotations through the space to get a base of information, then allow for random wandering. And if you don't know about the secret spaces you miss out. Then at the end of the night I wanted to leave the theatre area but wasn't allowed, was told "there was an accident to clean up". When we got BS/no answers of why we couldn't exit from either direction I asked if this was part of the schtick or please tell me why I can't leave the building. Eventually a lead/manager of some sort came by and asked if I could just wait a few minutes - at this point I felt trapped and said no, I wanted to leave right then. They did let me out only to find out they were wrapping up the evening and letting people out in groups. Why didn't they just say so? The double cherry on top is that I set up my bar tab before their noted time (got a confirmation it worked) then got there and they didn't have my "charging wooden nickel" - okay, things happen so I give them my credit card then, all seems to go well for that evening's charges then 2 days later I get a "the card didn't go through, click here to pay" message. Ah jeez, okay (why didn't they check the run that night - I'm no where near the limit and had other cards too) but (make it triple cherry on top) their online payment system wants to keep my account open and I have to go somewhere else to deactivate it. What?!? Final tip - don't go with a large group, you can't stick together, you don't have a shared experience and some people get left behind - literally - all alone not knowing where anyone went. (oh, and I'm never a fan of automatic tipping - 18% - what if the service was terrible and not deserving?)
Written June 30, 2017
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Steve M
Castro Valley, CA1 contribution
Apr 2014 • Couples
Beyond fun.
It was like walking back to 1923.
True feeling of what it might have been like to live in this time.
Some great acting. Live and right next to the action.
I think I will have to return 3 or 4 times to see everything.
A must see.
Written April 3, 2014
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Edward W
Grand Rapids, MI163 contributions
Aug 2019
I did not know what to expect (the group was mum about it) but was very pleased with what I experienced. Between the shows, people in character, food, beverage and games, it was quite a night. Long live the 30's.
Written September 9, 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Auckland, New Zealand17 contributions
Jul 2019 • Solo
Attending the Speakeasy has been on my bucket list for years...this year finally made it and I was definitely not disappointed. I dressed up in 1920 gear, made it through all the secrecy and was taken through the secret entrance into another time....I was immediately thrown into the deep end and became part of the show !! I am not an actor, but definitely became one on that night....I will not be a spoiler and say what went on during the evening, but I will say that It was an experience that I will never have again ( until I go back ) Had loads of fun ...great cocktails....Loved it !!!
Written July 25, 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

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The Speakeasy (San Francisco) - All You Need to Know BEFORE You Go

Frequently Asked Questions about The Speakeasy

The Speakeasy is open:
  • Fri - Sat 7:25 PM - 11:30 PM