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Codex | A 1920s-Inspired Speakeasy Bar in Nashua, New Hampshire

On October 29, 1919, Congress passed the Volstead Act, making it illegal to sell alcohol. The law went into effect on January 17, 1920, and lasted for 13 years, but some might say the Prohibition Era (the name given to the time period) had the opposite effect on the country that it was intended to. In fact, alcohol was probably more glorified during the 20s than at any other time in U.S. history. Speakeasies (hidden bars where alcohol was sold illegally) popped up in every city across America. And now, more than 80 years later, the speakeasy is popular once more.

Codex B.A.R. Menu codex nashua speakeasy

Codex B.A.R. Menu

The seemingly ordinary store-front is actually a disguise. codex nashua speakeasy

Codex’s storefront disguised as a bookstore.

In Nashua, NH, Codex opened its doors in September 2015. But Codex isn’t an ordinary bar, it’s a speakeasy. Inspired by the Prohibition Era, this bar is hidden. And by hidden, I mean it’s disguised as a used bookstore on Elm Street. That’s right, a bookstore.

Conveniently located next to a parking garage, it looks like a typical storefront, but if you look closely you’ll notice the front door is suspiciously plastered with “vote dry” fliers.

Front door covered in old fliers. codex nashua speakeasy

Front door covered in old fliers.

This storefront, however, is not the actual entrance to the secret speakeasy. Nope. To get in, you’ll have to go down the side alley and find the unmarked door. In the window, you’ll see a red lamp. If it’s on, Codex is open for business. But the fun doesn’t stop there.

The window next to Codex's real entrance. codex nashua speakeasy

The window next to Codex’s real entrance.

Once you enter the “bookstore” you’re presented with a large bookcase and an apparent dead end. Before you turn around and go home, take another look at the books. One of them is actually a secret lever! Pull the right book on the shelf, and you’ll be granted entrance through a secret door into the speakeasy. I know, it sounds like something out of a Scooby-Doo episode, except this place isn’t haunted (unless you count all the BOOze).

The seemingly ordinary bookcase is actually a secret entrance. codex nashua speakeasy

The seemingly ordinary bookcase is actually a secret entrance.

The secret entrance to Codex speakeasy codex nashua speakeasy

Pulling the correct book grants you access to the mysterious speakeasy.

As soon as you walk in you’re greeted with soft jazz, piano music, and a dimly lit lounge area. Codex is furnished with old-style couches, antique armchairs, and a number of other things. Exploring the space is half the fun, so I won’t spoil all the details.

codex nashua speakeasy

Lounge area, perfect for large groups.

Old couches and cozy corners can be found throughout. codex nashua speakeasy

Old couches and cozy corners can be found throughout.

codex nashua speakeasy

Unique furnishings adorn the lounge area.

This area is perfect for groups, but if you’re alone or with a small number of people, the bar area is no less impressive.

Codex bar codex nashua speakeasy

Codex’s speakeasy bar.

Bar tables great for small groups codex nashua speakeasy

Bar tables great for small groups.

The entire place is covered with antiques, old photographs, grandfather clocks and deco mirrors straight out of The Great Gatsby. There’s even some unique décor hidden in the bathrooms.

A partial menu sitting in a typewriter. codex nashua speakeasy

A partial menu sitting in a typewriter.

An old radio tucked in a corner. codex nashua speakeasy

An old radio tucked in a corner.

Grandfather clock codex nashua speakeasy

Grandfather clock.

Deco mirrors line the walls to the speakeasy bathroom. codex nashua speakeasy

Deco mirrors line the walls to the bathroom.

And naturally, books are scattered over every nook and cranny. In fact, with a few exceptions, all the books you see at Codex are actually for sale. Yup, you can have a drink and buy a book all at once.

Most books you find at Codex are for sale. codex nashua speakeasy

Most books you find at Codex are for sale.

Read an old book while you enjoy your cocktail. codex nashua speakeasy

Read an old book while you enjoy your cocktail.

Their menu features both food and drink. All of their cocktails are, of course, 1920s themed, and include old-time cocktails like the Old Fashioned, Sidecar, and Manhattan. If you’re feeling more adventurous you can give one of Codex’s original creations a try, like the “Coffee and Cigarettes,” “Paper Plane,” or “Where Theres Smoke.” While the cocktails range from $10-$13, they are impeccably made and well worth the money.

SEE MORE: In Search of New England’s Classic Cocktails

Derringer - Irish Whiskey, Falernum, Lemon, Carpano Antica. codex nashua speakeasy

Derringer – Irish Whiskey, Falernum, Lemon, Carpano Antica

Pink Lady - Gin, Pomegranate Syrup, Egg White, Lemon codex nashua speakeasy

Pink Lady – Gin, Pomegranate Syrup, Egg White, Lemon

French 75 - Gin, Sugar, Lemon, Prosecco codex nashua speakeasy

French 75 – Gin, Sugar, Lemon, Prosecco

For an exceptionally fun time, you can dress in classy attire, which adds to the whole experience and really makes you feel like you’re a part of the decade and the speakeasy way of life.

Have you been to Codex? Do you have a favorite 20s cocktail or secret speakeasy? Tell us about your experience!

Codex. 1 Elm Street, Nashua, NH. (603)-864-0115; codexbar.com

This post was first published in 2016 and has been updated.

The post Codex | A 1920s-Inspired Speakeasy Bar in Nashua, New Hampshire appeared first on New England Today.



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