(Written by Esh)
So one of my closest friend just gave me a brilliant idea for a review. To try a speakeasy bar he had just found. It was something I had never heard of until this point. Basically a Speakeasy bar is a bar that is not meant to be found or hidden from plain sight. These bars were set up in 1920s due to the prohibition of alcohol in the United States.
Staying true to it’s name, the Speakeasy bar was not only hidden well, it has a secret door, a little trap to confuse you on the way in, and an ambiance perfectly suited to its name. It was by no means easy to find, it was in a bar district and nothing really made it stand out at the entrance. It look like any old alcohol/antique store. Nothing really special about it, in fact we walked past it and had to backtrack to find it. Entering isn’t easy either, you need to know who to ask for the passcode and it is routinely updated it. This passcode is needed to enter the bar area and it changes every week. As mysterious and challenging it was to find and gain entrance to the bar, it was all part of the experience, it’s basically a mini treasure hunt with alcohol at the end.
Once we located the store, we were greeted by the Doorwoman. She first checked our IC, I mean it still looks like a liquor store, so it makes sense right? Then she asked if we knew the store’s quote of the day. We told her the quote/password and she then revealed the hidden door. It was hidden but not completely concealed. It was like one of those video game hidden passages, you could see that it stood out. We were lead into a mirror room, that’s all I shall say. After some pressing, we got through and then we were greeted by a chilled, spacious bar. But it seemed small, it seemed like it only caters to just a handful of people at any one time. Maybe the capacity is no more than 20 patrons at a time, therefore I believe it is meant to be a secret place.
The Bar had a very steam punk sort of feel to it. The brass bar counter had nails showing, iron mesh trays, classic style glasses and industrial lamps. It seemed pretty cool and brings to it the concealed corner, Speakeasy bar feel. But at the same time, there was a methodical sense of randomness to it. The cups seemed like they were just grabbed randomly, yet the drinks fit perfectly. The staff were all wearing formal shirts, suspenders and long formal pants, bringing the 1920s, industrial feel they were aiming for, alongside the stuffed monkeys on the wall, barren walls and wooden tables. It truly had a unique feel all on its own, all we needed was to wear a traditional suit and have a monocle ready. As I was in my skinnies and polo t-shirt, I felt so out of place, alongside the fact I was one of younger persons there.
The menu lives up to its name, the Library. The menus are disguised as children’s classics and even though they didn’t really seem very ‘book-like’ (they were way too thin and flimsy) even though it’s ‘supposed’ to be a library. The menu is interesting nonetheless. You are greeted by some of the most interesting drinks you would have ever seen. They all have interesting themes and names, all meant to give a different experience each time. Be it in terms of taste or presentation, they fit perfectly. The next few pages in the book were for the cliche drinks and alcohols you get at regular bars and their bar snacks. In that menu, the three drinks sampled were the Piscotheque, the Silver Screen and Eastern Remedy (all of which were cocktails). As for the bar snacks, it was the Cinnamon Donuts.
First up is the silver screen, it contains watered-down whiskey, infused with toffee apple and popcorn. I could not really taste the toffee apple, but the popcorn which you are suppose to chew as you drink it was really good, the whiskey also blended well with the popcorn and even managed to bring out its flavour. However in my opinion, the Whiskey was way too strong for me, but as the ice melts and dilutes it, it gets lighter and you can taste more of that popcorn flavour. I never thought Popcorn Whiskey could work together, but it does and it tastes pretty awesome.
Next up was the Piscotheque. It contained Pisco (a kind of brandy), pineapple shrub, camomile, kalamansi and passion fruit. It was nice and fruity and really sweet. Basically, it felt like I was drinking a nice refreshing, fruity camomile Tea with a hint of Alcohol. It definitely perfect for me as it was sweet but it still packed a punch. A good reminder to take my time and not too take too much at one go. It was served in a wooden Tiki cup with flowers, a hollowed out calamansi and soem dry ice fog. It was both a feast for the mouth and the eyes. It really tasted and felt like a drink for relaxing by the beach. I managed to finish the whole thing and there was quite a lot, at least by my standards. Nice, cold, refreshing, sweet and fruity. There is very little to remind you there is alcohol present until it hits you.
The final drink was the Eastern Remedy. This was basically Coconut water that will get you drunk. It contained Blanco Rum, Creme de Cocoa, Benedictine, fresh Coconut water and Lime. It definitely looked and tasted like Coconut water. Hardly any hints of Alcohol and it was light and easy to drink. No strong tastes and very mild, perfect for a night of chilling and chatting. It was nothing short of just being amazing. This was truly deadly as it was exceptionally easy to drink, no burns or chills. Forget it is an alcoholic beverage and before you know it, you will be drunk!
To end of the drinking session, the Cinnamon Donuts! In between the different and complex flavours of the drinks, this was simple and well-balanced. The donut had the sweetness from the sugar and cinnamon and was well-balanced with the saltiness of the salted caramel whipped cream (not sure what the actual name was, I stopped taking notes at this point in my tipsy state). But I did note down that they balanced each other out very well. Perfectly balanced and it was a true delight, coupled with the piping hot crunchy exterior and the perfectly doughy centre of the donut. Best enjoyed intoxicated!
But the biggest con to this place was the price, which was really steep. At $23 per drink and $17 for the donuts, the bill amounted to over $100. The prices do not include service charge or GST. So you better prepare your leave with a much lighter wallet.
All in all, an amazing experience, well-crafted drinks and delectable bar food, I could not ask for more. Definitely an awesome experience for me! No bar has ever been this awesome and well worth its price! Still can’t believe I never knew about this place till now, I guess they did do a good job hiding themselves. A true speakeasy bar.
P.S No address or exterior photos had been added to the review to keep this place as secretive as possible. I wanted anyone who goes there to experience the full Speakeasy bar feel, which includes searching for it and gaining the passcode. Go out and find it, I wish you the best of luck!
(Editor’s End Note: I play no part in this little game of hiding the location and password of this Speakeasy Bar, it is a request put forth by the writer. Thecrazydonny shall not be held liable for any actions taken by readers to find this bar.)