The World’s Best Secret Bars

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8th January 2024

It is highly unlikely that you would have heard of the Whisper Bar – a quiet, unassuming bar hidden on the eighth floor of a mansion in China, that opened with as little fuss as possible in November. With room for no more than 21 people, this may sound like a sleepy, uneventful place to have a drink, but actually, it is home to a pretty impressive cocktail list.
Owned by Martin Xin, a former mixologist at Mei Bar and Bubble Bar, the menu contains specialities such as the Pisco Sour and a cocktail called the Fancy Free.

There is something quite exciting about stumbling across a hidden bar, which gives a sense of forbidden pleasure; a dirty little secret that you have to keep in order to preserve the unique nature of the establishment. While the Whisper Bar may seem innovative, there are actually many secret bars around the world.

Some are so keen to preserve their exclusive nature that prospective customers have to make a reservation. Take 28 HongKong Street, for example, which can be found behind an unmarked door in Chinatown, Singapore. They have never advertised, and their website offers few clues as to what you can expect, but they have a regular clientele thanks to word of mouth. One of their most popular cocktails is a variation of a frozen daquiri, known as a Five Foot Assassin.

Some were created with the intention of giving celebrities a quiet place to drink where they would not be bothered by the public. The Blue Room in Los Angeles is one such bar, which is hidden behind a sliding staircase in the Los Angeles Athletic Club, and has previously entertained Hollywood Royalty such as Charlie Chaplin and Rudolph Valentino. The Uplifter's Cup is a cocktail you must try if you ever happen to stumble across this bar, as the exact recipe is almost impossible to find.

Meanwhile, other bars are so keen to be kept a secret that they place a four-digit code on the door which changes daily, so that even regular visitors struggle to get in! The Callooh Callay in London is actually made up of a number of bars, each more secretive than the next. Bar JubJub is the one that is kept behind a padlocked door, with a further two bars to get through before you find it. The first bar is the easiest to access, while the second bar can only be found if you are willing to crawl through a Narnia-style wardrobe. The New World Spritz cocktail is well worth the effort, however.

New York-style hidden bars are secretively placed in hot dog joints (where else). The entrance to the PDT (Please Don’t Tell) is in a vintage phone booth, and allows visitors to sip on smart and sophisticated cocktails, like the Sage Old Buck, while devouring their big, greasy sausages.

In Switzerland, hidden bars are combined with secret art-work. The Museum HR Giger Bar is situated in a castle in Gruyeres, and gives the impression of being seated within a giant stomach, with a skeletal structure and a lair-like feeling. You will feel like you are in the middle of a Sci-Fi film, so an Alien Blood Shot is the only fitting drink.

If you are lucky enough to discover a hidden gem, be sure to soak up the atmosphere and marvel at your find with the other fortunate drinkers. But never, ever reveal the location, because once these bars become common knowledge, their mystery and romance is over.

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