Jet Set: The Modern Speakeasy
The term Speakeasy, a delicious hybrid that implies mystery and privacy just by uttering it, came to prominence during the Prohibition era (1920-1933) in the United States, but there is a long history of private bars and saloons known as speakeasies that date back into the 1800s. Today’s speakeasy isn’t illegal; instead, the term has evolved to denote bars and lounges, often with a hidden or secret entrance, that offer something truly special. As the affluent desire privacy in their homes, they also seek out elite, secluded places where they can socialize, making speakeasies and members-only clubs a perfect fit.
H.R. Giger Museum Bar
Hidden away inside the incredible H.R. Giger Museum in Gruyeres, Switzerland, the H.R. Giger Museum Bar is a way to experience the artist’s work on an entirely different level. Recognized as the world’s foremost artist of Fantastic Realism, Giger’s work served as inspiration for Ridley Scott’s film Alien. Inside, you’ll find arches of otherworldly vertebrae and chairs that look like alien skeletons, the bar is the artist’s last great masterpiece. The menu features cocktails that play on Giger’s most famed creations such as the Alien Coffee, and specialty shots such as Alien Blood and The Facehugger which feature locally produced Swiss liqueurs. hrgiger.com/barmuseum
All images © 2018 Andy Davies / HR Giger Museum
Hong Kong, China
The exotic Foxglove in Hong Kong transports guests to the 1950s. The venue is disguised as an umbrella shop with a secret door that slides open. The bar’s story is set up around the fictional adventures of English playboy Frank Mizra. Foxglove hosts live entertainment in the main lounge, while Frank’s library, and a VIP cabin room with a 1950s train theme, offer more intimate spaces. The extensive cocktail list is broken into themes including The Golden Age, Homage to Prohibition, Taste for the Exotic and Signature Cocktails. Most popular is the Osaka Sour prepared with Japanese whisky, pasteurized egg white, plum wine, plum syrup lemon and sherry. foxglovehk.com
London, United Kingdom
Located in East London’s Shoreditch area, an artsy region near the trendy Hoxton neighborhood, Callooh Callay takes its name from the Lewis Carroll poem “JabberWocky” and delights in the eccentric. With bartenders that are known to be wizards of their craft, this quirky locale has received multiple awards for its extensive cocktail menu including the Spirit Awards’ Best International High Volume Cocktail Bar in 2016. Callooh Callay has two separate private spaces, the Back Lounge which is found hidden behind a wardrobe door and JubJub, a secret members-only bar that is only accessible by a key. calloohcallaybar.com
New York, New York
Behind an adorable candy-colored ice cream shop on New York’s Upper East Side lies an even sweeter secret. Say you want to see the storage room and an employee at the counter will escort you to a bar tucked behind a door lined with ice cream cartons. Tufted banquettes and exposed brick invite intimate conversations. A columned bar features an impressive array of spirits. With cheeky cocktail titles like The Devil Wears Nada and I Left My Heart in Yorkville, the UES puts the emphasis on sass and fun. theuesnyc.com
The UES -- photo credit Jess Sorensen
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