Most people have no idea that the Brooklyn Bridge was once the swankiest party spot in the city. And no, we’re not talking about raging fetes that happened on the bridge itself – there are actually massive wine cellars hidden beneath one of New York’s most iconic landmarks.

However, you’ll probably never get to lay eyes on these secret chambers.

Before the Brooklyn Bridge was even open, these wine cellars were filled with the city’s finest bottles. The engineer who designed them hoped that building the cellars would keep the wine dark, cool and secure.

The cellars are so large that they are connected by a series of twisting passages named after French roads. A statue of the Virgin Mary once stood at the 60,000-ton granite entrance, along with the inscription “Who loveth not wine, women, and song, he remaineth a fool his whole life long.”

Another inscription on the walls of the legendary cellars reads: “Legend of Oechs Cellars: These cellars were built in 1876, about seven years prior to the official opening of the Brooklyn Bridge in 1883. From their inception, they housed the choicest wines in New York City.”

When Prohibition took hold, the caverns were turned into newspaper storage areas. Though they briefly reopened to the public after alcohol came back into vogue, World War II led the city of New York to take over permanent management of the cellars and close them to visitors.

Almost no one has been permitted in the extraordinary caverns since. The cellars remain empty and forgotten by the thousands of pedestrians and motorists who cross the Brooklyn Bridge every day.

Check out this incredible footage of the Brooklyn Bridge wine cellers.

OnlyInYourState may earn compensation through affiliate links in this article. As an Amazon Associate, we earn from qualifying purchases.

Explore New York