Sliding bookcase

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

A sliding bookcase is a wooden shelf or cabinet for bound volumes that is designed to move on rollers, a track, hinges, or another mechanism and is typically used to hide the presence of a secret room or space.[1] Sliding bookcases were used in the United States during prohibition to hide rooms or spaces containing liquor.[2] They have also been used to conceal entrances to speakeasy bars and marijuana-growing operations. People have hidden in secret rooms concealed by sliding bookcases to escape detection during police raids[3][4] or from totalitarian governments.

Safe rooms, also known as panic rooms, may be concealed by sliding bookcases.[4] Sliding bookcases may be designed to slide and to swing open using hinges.[5] Sliding bookcases have been portrayed in many fictional works.

Places with sliding bookcases[edit]

Sliding bookcases have been installed by homeowners[5][6] and builders.[7][8]

Anne Frank House[edit]

The (reconstructed) movable, sliding bookcase that covered the entrance to the Secret Annex at the Anne Frank House

During World War II at the Anne Frank House, Anne Frank hid from Nazi persecution with her family and four other people in hidden rooms at the rear of the 17th-century canal house, known as the Secret Annex (Dutch: Achterhuis). The rooms were concealed by a movable, sliding bookcase built by Johan Voskuijl.[9][10] Anne Frank did not survive the war, but in 1947 her wartime diary was published.

Bars in the United States[edit]


The Speakeasy was a theater and club experience in the Tenderloin neighborhood of San Francisco that occurred in January-March 2013 that included the feature of a sliding bookcase that led to "Club 23", a bar and casino parlor.[11] Club 23 was opened after the show, and only "select few patrons" were allowed entrance.[11] Additional entrances included two fake walls.[11]

Bourbon & Branch is a speakeasy-themed bar in San Francisco's Tenderloin neighborhood that has a hinged bookcase that leads to their library.[12] A password is required to gain entry to the bar, and a separate one is required to gain entry to the library.[12]

Marianne's, a bar in the South of Market neighborhood in San Francisco, has a sliding bookcase that leads to a secretive second bar in the establishment named Marianne.[13]

Other states[edit]

The Parlour, a bar in Jacksonville, Florida, has an entrance which is concealed by a sliding bookcase.[14] It also has an unmarked alley door that has a black awning.[14] The Back Room in New York City has a second "hidden" bar within it concealed by a sliding bookcase.[15][16] The Firehouse Hostel and Lounge in Austin, Texas, has a sliding bookcase that leads to the bar.[17] The bar specializes in cocktails that were consumed during the Prohibition-era, including one named The Last Word, a gin-based cocktail.[18]

Bredlau Castle[edit]

The Bredlau Castle in Lake Elsinore, California has a sliding bookcase that reveals an area used to hide liquor during prohibition in the United States.[2]


The J.W. Marriott luxury hotel in Puxi's Tomorrow Square, Shanghai, China has a sliding bookcase on its executive floor that leads to the building's rooftop.[19]


Pixar's location in Emeryville, California, had a hidden room hidden by a sliding bookcase.[20] It was initially discovered by Pixar animator Andrew Gordon, who opened a hatch door in his office that revealed a hidden room that was designed to provide maintenance workers "access to a portion of the building's ventilation system".[20] Gordon eventually converted the room into a full bar with furniture and carpet, and added a camera in the office aimed at the door to provide warning about anyone approaching.[20] The space was called "Lucky 7 Lounge" and the "Love Lounge".[20] The sliding bookcase was made operational by "a switch hidden in a bust of Shakespeare".[20] The hidden room is shown on the DVD of Toy Story 3 as a bonus feature, which is narrated by Gordon.[20]

In fiction[edit]

Sliding bookcases have been a part of many fictional works. Libraries in fiction have sometimes been characterized as existent in secret rooms, hidden by sliding bookcases.[21] A character withdrawing a specific book or moving a statuette as the hidden trigger to open a sliding bookcase is a cliché of mystery stories set in old haunted houses.

The Batman television series had a sliding bookcase that was activated by a hidden switch located inside of a bust of Shakespeare.[22] When the bookcase slid open, the Batpoles that the actors slid down to go to the Batcave were revealed.[22]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Connell, J. (2004). Creating the Inspired House: Discovering Your Place Called Home. Taunton Press. p. 173. ISBN 978-1-56158-691-2.
  2. ^ a b Greene, E.J. (2005). Lake Elsinore. Images of America. Arcadia Publishing. ISBN 978-1-4396-1447-1.
  3. ^ Ash, Allison (December 30, 2014). "Encinitas woman arrested for running alleged 'drug house' is a no-show in court". 10News. Retrieved May 2, 2015.
  4. ^ a b Ramirez, Chris (January 29, 2009). "Stripper pole, booze found at teen party". Amarillo Globe-News. Retrieved May 2, 2015.
  5. ^ a b MMK (September 17, 2014). "14 Secret Bookcase Doors, Always Fun And Always Mysterious". Architecture & Design. Retrieved May 2, 2015.
  6. ^ Underwood, Lynn (February 22, 2014). "Bungalow makeover is eco-friendly - and cat-friendly". The Record Courier. Retrieved May 2, 2015.
  7. ^ "This weekend: "Dusty Boots" tour previews spring Homearama showcase of new custom homes at Founder's Pointe in Isle of Wight County". Daily Press. March 18, 2010. Retrieved May 2, 2015.
  8. ^ "Design". Issues 433-438. Design Council. 1985. p. 357. Retrieved 2 May 2015.
  9. ^ Kirshenblatt-Gimblett, B.; Shandler, J. (2012). Anne Frank Unbound: Media, Imagination, Memory. The Modern Jewish Experience. Indiana University Press. p. 116. ISBN 978-0-253-00755-1.
  10. ^ "Dutch to rule on Anne Frank letters amid archival spat". The Jerusalem Post. June 24, 2013. Retrieved May 2, 2015.
  11. ^ a b c Frojo, Renée (December 31, 2013). "Tenderloin Speakeasy prepares for super-secret show". San Francisco Business Times. Retrieved May 2, 2015.
  12. ^ a b Starkey, Joe (July 16, 2014). "Every single room in Bourbon & Branch (even the secret basement one!)". Thrillist. Retrieved May 2, 2015.
  13. ^ Barringer, Daisy (January 15, 2015). "10 Secret Bars in SF You Probably Don't Know About". Thrillist. Retrieved May 2, 2015.
  14. ^ a b Rich, Jamie (November 10, 2013). "The Preservationists at the Parlour". First Coast Magazine. Retrieved May 2, 2015.
  15. ^ Lescroart, J.; Inc., Let's Go; Walsh, S.; Zimmerman, M. (2009). Roadtripping USA. Let's Go: Roadtripping USA. St. Martin's Press. p. 141. ISBN 978-0-312-38583-5. Retrieved May 2, 2015. {{cite book}}: |last2= has generic name (help)
  16. ^ "Best Secret Bar". New York. May 2, 2015. Retrieved May 2, 2015.
  17. ^ Salem, Gracie (August 8, 2014). "Behind the Case". The Austin Chronicle. Retrieved May 2, 2015.
  18. ^ Cook, Alison (March 20, 2015). "Foodies converge at Austin festival". Houston Chronicle. Retrieved May 2, 2015.
  19. ^ Gammack, J.G.; Donald, S.H. (2012). Tourism and the Branded City: Film and Identity on the Pacific Rim. New Directions in Tourism Analysis. Ashgate Publishing Limited. p. 132. ISBN 978-1-4094-8744-9.
  20. ^ a b c d e f Moyer, Edward (May 19, 2012). "Getting in on the secret of Pixar's 'hidden' speakeasy". CNET. Retrieved May 2, 2015.
  21. ^ "The Library World". Volume 6. Library Supply Company. 1904. pp. 126–130.
  22. ^ a b Nagy, Andrew (May-June 2014). "Secret Doors". Cigar Aficionado. Accessed May 2, 2015.