Get ready for a drink in hidden den
Lacrucci would like to say a few words on the trend of Hong Kong speakeasy bars and restaurants development. Speakeasy originally came from America spreading over to Asia and Hong Kong in recent years. Speakeasy sounds to relate to something secret, not to be seen and prohibited. What actually is a speakeasy bar or restaurant?
What is a Hong Kong Speakeasy bar or restaurant?
A speakeasy was also called a “blind pig” or “blind tiger”, back to the Prohibition era of 1920-1933 in America. These terms were applied to those venues (such as a salon or bar) that sold alcoholic beverages illegally.
In order to conceal the seller’s identity, the operator would charge customers for watching an attraction (such as an animal) and then serve a “complementary” alcoholic beverage, thus circumventing the law.
Nowadays, a speakeasy bar or restaurant is no longer illegal. Instead, it became a recent trend to build a hip bar by hiding the entrance or creating the secret internal ambience.
Something to be seen and not to be seen. Speakeasy is also used to describe some retro style bars.
PDT (a short name of “Please Don’t Tell”) in New York is one of the best speakeasies in the world. Located on St. Marks Place where it is considered a main cultural street for East Village in Manhattan.
Customers have to enter through Crif Dods, the hip hot dog place, then step into a phone booth and identify themselves by speaking into the receiver. The secret door is then opened, revealing a twilight bar where artisanal cocktails are served.
Interesting Speakeasies around the world
Other renowned speakeasies in the world are using their exclusive ways to interpret speakeasy and create the mystery of the bars. To name a few interesting examples:
- Lulu White (in Paris) is named after an African-American lady who ran a brothel in New Orleans in early 1920s. No signage on the street for Lulu White.
- Floreria Atlantics (in Buenos Aires) is hidden inside among the bouquets with flowers all around. Customers have to locate a refrigerator in the confused romantics first, and then walk into the refrigerator and go downstairs. A bar is hidden in the basement floor.
- Adults Only (in Los Angeles) is accessed through a doorway inside an adult video store.
- Bank Bar (in Manila) is tucked inside a convenience store 7-Eleven
- Ounce (in Taipei) is hidden away behind a secret door in a neighborhood café.
Speaskeasy bar and restaurants in Hong Kong – Foxglove
A starred bar and restaurant called “Foxglove” is also ranked in the top 7 of the world’s most intriguing speakeasies by CNN.
Located in the heart of Central, Foxglove is tucked behind an elegant antique umbrella shop façade which was seemingly established in 1868 on Ice House Street.
Once customers walk through the corridor and press an umbrella button, a beautiful bar floor is opened up.
Designed in a theme of first-class airplane cabins and vintage cars. Together with its ambience, live music, exotic cocktails and special menus, Foxglove is named as the top of speakeasies and one of the best bars in Hong Kong. A must-visit speakeasy!
Lacrucci, as a F&B community consultant based in Hong Kong, would expect that the trend of speakeasies will continue to influence the bar concepts in Hong Kong.
Hearsay, one of the top mixologists who has ever worked for PDT and Varnish (in USA) will soon settle down in Hong Kong for his own speakeasy cocktail bar. Let’s see what happen next to the bar scene of Hong Kong.
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