When speakeasy bars burst on the scene some years ago, most dismissed them as a fad – a very cool fad, but nothing more. Surprisingly, many of them have flourished and built up quite a reputation, while constantly reinventing themselves but staying true to their original concept. Here is a look around at the top speakeasies across the country.
Sly Granny, Bangalore
This place has been around on Bangalore’s social scene in Indiranagar for just about a year now, and Sly Granny has some sworn fans. It isn’t obviously a speakeasy but you’ve got to dig deeper for it – look out for the with secret rooms and unexpectedly winding passages (hence the word “sly” in the name). Even better, the fun and eclectic vibe makes it a place you can visit repeatedly without getting bored – this is the home of a cool, well-travelled granny, who has a fairly colourful life if you scratch below the surface. The terrace setting is especially dreamy and romantic. True to its speakeasy style, Sly Granny has a fine range of cocktails on offer.
Cocktails & Dreams, Gurgaon
The cosy basement setting is perfect for an underground speakeasy bar. The highlight of Cocktail & dreams is – you guessed it – the cocktails. They know their stuff, and it shows. Their main mixologist and bartender, Lama, is excellent. A personal favourite is the Mumbai Monsoon cocktail (Smirnoff Vodka with kala khatta and more), Achaari Limbu Twist (Ketel One with homemade lime pickle and more) and the signature Bronx – the cocktail which topped the drinks list in the underground speakeasies.
Watch: Around Cocktails & Dreams in 90 Seconds [Video]
PCO (full form: “Pass Code Only”) became a rage on the scene in Delhi thanks to its complicated entry requirements – you walk into a vintage phone booth, punch a ‘secret’ code onto the keypad and are then allowed into the dimly lit corridor (which opens up into the bar). The charming decor is ‘early 20th century chic’, featuring dim candlelight, ornately decorated chairs, bookshelves, antique telephones and vintage portraits. If you’re at PCO, the classic cocktails are a must-have. Especially great is their line of barrel-aged craft cocktails (think Manhattans and Negronis). The bartenders are great at whipping up off-the-menu specials, so go have a chat if something specific is on your mind! Read more out PCO here.
Dirty Martini, Delhi
Part of the well-established Olive, this is restaurateur AD Singh’s experiment with the speakeasy concept (you won’t even find direct listings for it online, shh). The entry way gives nothing away – guests must walk through the kitchen until they find themselves in another world. Dirty Martini has the décor of a spectacular 1920s bar, high on glamour and opulence: think pretty pink crystal lampshades and puffy cushions abounded, along with a grand piano. A highlight is the delicious cocktails served in beautiful floral tea cups.
Read: 13 Iconic Cocktails from all around the world
The Local, Mumbai
The Local’s claim to fame was that it was Mumbai’s first speakeasy style bar. It is fairly difficult to find for the first time (for some, this adds to the charm) and has an automatic door protected by a password. If you’re smart enough to find your way in, you’ll find yourself in a swinging setting the rings with music (singing, if it happens to be a karaoke night) and laughter. The food is Goan inspired and unmissable! True to their name, they have an interesting array of desi-style cocktails too (check out the Bollywood Mary, a twist on the classic Bloody Mary). This is now he only speakeasy bar in Mumbai with the other one (PDT – Please Don’t Tell) having shut down.
Read: Mumbai's Coolest Karaoke Spots
Pictures via: Theculturetrip.com, cntraveller, newindianexpress.com
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