We’ve got the scoop on how to get in to Himitsu Atlanta speakeasy!
By Hope S. Philbrick
Himitsu is Japanese for “secret.”
This craft cocktail lounge in Atlanta, Georgia, is a secret that I learned when a reader asked me how to get inside. He hoped to take his favorite gal for a surprise date. (Nice!)
A speakeasy is, by nature of being a bar, strictly for adults age 21 and older—so they’re popular with readers, and thus I try my darnedest to stay on top of the options in Atlanta. Once I learned of Himitsu, I made it my mission to get inside and check it out.
That proved easier said than done. But good news, I can help make it easier for subscribers of Getaways for Grownups.
What To Expect at Himitsu
Himitsu is a top-notch cocktail bar. It embraces “shokunin kishitsu,” the Japanese philosophy of unwavering devotion to the mastery of one’s craft. Everything is hand-crafted and made fresh. “This place is different than other bars I’ve worked at,” says one bartender. “We arrive five hours before opening each night to make all the syrups, tinctures, and everything fresh!” Ice cubes are also branded each night. Yes, they take a blazing hot branding iron and press it to each cube to emboss it with “Himitsu,” there are no molds! Some branded cubes even get an edible color treatment to coordinate with the intended drink! Himitsu houses seven freezers to stock the specially crafted ice that’s hand-cut and branded daily.
The cocktail program was created by world-renowned mixologist Shingo Gokan.
Signature and classic cocktails range from $16 to $22. Serori is a full-flavored blend of gin, celery, chartreuse, elderflower and lime—if you like the taste of celery, you’ll love this “celery on steroids” concoction. Kyuri is a blend of gin, cucumber, lemongrass, pineapple and absinthe that’s as soft as a cloud and lip-licking yum. Butter Old Fashioned blends butter-washed bourbon with honey and orange—it’s one bartender’s favorite drink, for good reason. Leather Boulevardier stores bourbon, sweet vermouth, and Campari in a bota bag to give it a leathery flavor note, which does add a layer of complexity and somewhat soften the bitter bite of Campari.
If you prefer straight up sips, fear not: there’s a curated list of crafted cocktails, spirits, sake and wines available in addition to the cocktails.
Hungry? The small bites and dessert items are crafted by Chefs Fuyuhiko Ito and Lisa Ito of Umi. Options include avocado salad with wasabi vinaigrette, fried chicken with shishito peppers, wagyu tacos, Himitsu roll, and other creations.
Despite its “under the radar” approach, since it opened in November 11, 2015, Himitsu has made the press, including being named to the “50 Best Bars” in Atlanta Magazine, featured in “Are These the Most Beautiful Cocktails in America” by Travel Channel, “Best of the City” by The Atlantan, and “The Toughest Tables in 10 Cities Across the U.S.” by Zagat.
The place feels small, especially once seats start to fill up, but there are three seating options: at the bar, in the main room, and in a loft lounge upstairs. My husband and I started the evening at the bar, enjoying chats with the bartenders. But as customers arrived and orders started flowing in, those bartenders started moving at such a rapid pace that watching them felt stressful. So we wandered upstairs, away from the crowd, to sip our drinks in a relaxed space. A bartender popped in every few minutes, so the level of service never dropped.
Himitsu is only open Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays from 7 p.m. to 1:30 a.m. (and it may close earlier, depending on how busy it is or isn’t on any given night). This is a date night place; in fact, groups of 6 or more require a contract.
How To Get Inside Himitsu
Himitsu is “by reservation only.”
Entry Option A: One reliable way to gain access to Himitsu is to stay at an Atlanta hotel—a nice one, with a concierge. The concierge will be able to make a reservation for you.
Entry Option B: Dine at Umi. Behave yourself, tip generously, and ask your server if there’s any availability at Himitsu for after-dinner drinks. This can work, but considering how often Himitsu is filled to capacity, access to the speakeasy is not guaranteed.
Entry Option C: This approach, which we can help you with, has a few steps, so don’t think you’ll be going there tonight. But sometime, yes!
Step 1: Email a reservation request to firstname.lastname@example.org. Include the word “Love” in your subject line.
Step 2: If you’re not already a subscriber, subscribe to the Getaways for Grownups newsletter. Scroll down to the site footer and use the sign-up widget—simply enter your email address. This is the best way to prove you’re a grownup before asking for the code; subscriptions are free and don’t worry, we never share your email address.
Step 3: Email me at email@example.com and request the secret code name. I can’t print the name here, but if I know you and/or can vouch your genuine grownup-ness, I may give it to you. (Please keep reading….) If we’ve never met, you’ll have to somehow prove to me that you’re indeed a grownup who can be trusted with such classified information. I will verify that you’re a subscriber before sharing the code, therefore can honor requests by email only (not text, not social media). Please understand that immediate replies are unlikely. Believe it or not, I’m not sitting here at the computer awaiting your request.
Step 4: At some point (beyond my influence or control), you’ll receive an email or phone call from Himitsu. Emails will include a request form; phone calls will include a list of questions. You’ll be asked to provide your name, phone number, preferred date, time, and number of guests. The tricky bit is that all first-time guests also need a referral, which is where you’ll enter the secret code name that I’ve provided. SPOILER ALERT: It isn’t my name, so don’t think you can cheat the process.
Step 5: At some point (that I can’t predict or bring about), Himitsu will contact you to confirm your reservation. Before your scheduled arrival, you’ll be given an access code (it changes nightly) to enter into the keypad to the left of the door.
Step inside and a host will escort you to a seat and present menus. Cheers!
3050 Peachtree Road NW
Atlanta GA 30305
The discreet door to Himitsu is just beyond the blazing tiki torches of its neighboring Thai restaurant and several paces down from Umi, with whom it shares owners and chefs.
Valet parking is available in front of Seasons 52.
– Photo Credits: interiors by Emily Andrews, drinks by Justin Driscoll, coasters by Hope S. Philbrick
Featured products, services and/or travel arrangements may have been complimentary in part or in full; this affords the research opportunity but does not sway opinion. Thanks to Himitsu for hosting our visit.