The Vanilla Club is a true speakeasy experience – follow the rules, or you won’t get in
Tucked in a dark sidestreet near the Uffizi Gallery is the Vanilla Club Speakeasy – a true prohibition-style speakeasy with rules that you must follow, or you will not be permitted inside.
Most speakeasies are really just hidden bars – bars where the entrance is obscured, but if you find it, you can enter. The Vanilla Club is only the second speakeasy I’ve been to where you had to know how to gain access in order to get inside. However, unlike Potions in New Orleans, the Vanilla Club has more rules and is much more authentic to the Prohibition era.
The proprietor calls it the “Worst Place in Florence”, but it was easily the highlight of my trip through Rome and Florence. If you’re looking for a fun night out without the crowds in Florence, you cannot miss the Vanilla Club Speakeasy!
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What is the Vanilla Club Speakeasy?
The Vanilla Club is a true, Prohibition-style speakeasy. The location is unmarked, the cocktails are masterfully hand-crafted, and there are strict rules to gain entry.
How to find the Vanilla Club Speakeasy
The Vanilla Club is located near the Uffizi Gallery in Florence. Google Maps has the correct address, so if you follow the map, you’ll end up in the correct location.
The Google Maps entry has everything you need to know about getting into the Club. Pay attention!
The entrance is unmarked, but look high above some discrete double doors – when the lanterns are on, they are open.
Getting into the Vanilla Club
A lot of the fun is figuring out how to get in, so I’m not going to tell you everything – but I will point you in the right direction!
The biggest clue was mentioned above: the Google Maps entry has everything you need to know.
Here are my tips:
- Read the Google Maps entry from top to bottom, including the often-hidden “About” tab
- Use WhatsApp to make a reservation – only after following the step above! Go through every prompt to get even more information
- Arrive a little bit before opening to figure out where the entrance is. Look for lanterns!
- Remember the rules when you ring the bell. Patience is your friend – it may take the proprietor 15 minutes to get to the door. I promise, it’s worth it
- When the door opens, remember the rules! Above all, follow the rules
What it’s like inside
Once the door cracks open and you pass the proprietor’s test, you’ll enter into a small greeting area hidden from the main bar area with a thick velvet curtain. Pay the cover charge, receive your membership card, and enter through the red curtain.
New joiners are welcomed at the bar and asked what their drink preferences are. Sweet, smoky, gin-based, fruity – give the bartender your preferences and he will whip up a bespoke cocktail sure to light up your tastebuds.
Don’t expect fast service! The bartender is also the greeter, so he has a busy job. Sip your cocktail and meet the other patrons while you savor the atmosphere.
Get into the swing of things with the wardrobe across from the bar. Here you will find a variety of Flapper dresses and accessories, ranging from feathered headbands to long cigarettes to gloves.
The decor & furniture are absolutely gorgeous and certainly feel reminiscent of the 1920s. Everything from the entrance to the cocktails to the decor to the wardrobe feels like an authentic experience.
The space is small which makes it an ideal refuge from the crowds of Florence.
Overall verdict on the Vanilla Club Speakeasy
The “Worst Place in Florence” is a place you absolutely cannot miss when you visit the Tuscan capital. I felt a little cheesy trying to follow the rules at the front door but it was really fun when I decided to embrace it. The cocktails were delicious and well-priced, the other patrons were fun, and the atmosphere was unmatched. The wait to get a cocktail or to even get in could be a bit frustrating, but it added to the mysterious excitement of the whole experience.
The Vanilla Club is a unique experience and is worth the effort – you won’t regret visiting!