Six Secret Drinking Dens You Have Got To Visit In Your Next Trip
Going to a secret watering hole while travelling is truly an exciting experience. Check out speakeasies, underground bars, and secret drinking dens from around the world that you have got to visit on your next trip.
1. Bathtub Gin, New York
During the Prohibition era in the United States in the 1920s, lots of secret bars and speakeasies popped up. This pub is inspired by those establishments. Bathtub Gin is well-hidden behind the Stone Street Coffee Company in the Chelsea neighbourhood. The ambience in the bar is that of the 1920s with plush interiors, live jazz, burlesque and offerings of top-tier craft cocktails with a focus on gin.
2. Discount Suit Company, London
This bar is discreetly located near Spitalfields Market and Liverpool Street station. Camouflaged between many clothiers and shoe shops, you will notice a sign on the building's facade 'Alterations While U Wait'. But don't be misled, you are in the right place. Go down a flight of steep stairs and be careful of low ceilings. You enter a dimly-lit bar which only heightens the mystery about it. The cocktail menu is rotated regularly and is reasonably priced.
3. The Barber Shop, Sydney
This surreptitious drinking place actually looks like an upmarket gentlemen’s grooming salon. But those who know, are aware that there is a cocktail bar hidden in the back, behind an unmarked doorway. This bar opened in 2013 and is today a favourite among gin lovers. The Barber Shop has a collection of over 700 gin labels from across the world. The cocktail menu is gin-focused. The bar provides guests with sample gin 'flights' and a range of classic and craft cocktails. This is a busy place, so book your seat before arriving.
4. Shinka, Osaka
This bar is notoriously difficult to locate! It is situated in an unassuming, quiet residential neighbourhood. Those who know about the bar, look for Deepening Submarine Bar on navigation apps. When you reach the area, look for a narrow alley with a heavy-duty metal door at the end. Push open the door and you will enter an eccentric 'subterranean' world. The bar is built with parts from actual submarines. Its interiors have a complex network of steel piping, pressure gauges, control panels and peepholes. The seating is limited and hence cosy.
5. Dragon Chamber, Singapore
This bar and restaurant looks like any other crowded coffee shop in Singapore's Boat Quay. But, when its glass-fronted refrigerator swings open, a tiny passageway is revealed. Walk into the passageway and you find yourself in the Dragon Chamber. The bar is designed to have the look and feel of Chinatown gambling dens and secret society hangouts of yore. It is decorated with striking local artwork which is influenced by Chinese traditions. The drinks pay tribute to Asian culture and include innovative cocktails such as Java Royale and Land of the Rising Sun which have local ingredients.
6. Circa, Kuala Lumpur
This bar requires a passcode to enter, which you can access from the establishment's Instagram page. It's nestled in a back alley in the busy Plaza Batai. The bar is accessible through a 'hole' in a red-bricked wall and up a spiral staircase. The bar is inspired by old-world Parisian boudoirs with interiors having brick walls, mismatched vintage furniture and warm, muted lighting. The popular offerings include the Edison and the Yuan Dynasty, which use local ingredients.
While it's great to learn about alcoholic beverages and establishments that serve them, it is important to also consume alcohol moderately. Remember to serve and drink responsibly to ensure you and your guests are healthy and out of harm's way. If you know anyone who has trouble controlling their alcohol intake, please refer them to a professional immediately.