Speakeasy: Delhi and Gurgaon are inspired by the “prohibition era”

Can you keep a secret?

The “prohibition era,” fueled by criminal gangs, bootleggers, unlicensed bars and gin joints, breaking federal liquor law, known as the Volstead Act, was considered the secret the most. worst kept in America.

The constitutional ban on the production, importation, transportation and sale of alcoholic beverages in the United States gave rise to the “Speakeasies”.

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Speakeasies ranged from swanky clubs with jazz bands and ballroom dance floors to seedy basements and bedrooms secretly housed inside apartments. Men and women who wanted to drink often turned to illegal bars operating with secret passwords in an attempt to evade law enforcement.

Reflecting this American era of the 1920s, Delhi-NCR has opened a few secret bars or “speakeasies”, where one can sit and enjoy the highlights of the prohibition era.

Here are three speakeasies in Delhi-Gurgaon you wouldn’t want to miss:

1. The Secret Garden

The Secret Garden bar counter. (Photo: Ananya Jain)

The Secret Garden is a rooftop bar located in the M-Block Market in Greater Kailash, Delhi. However, with no signs and signs outside, try not to be put off by its low-key presence. The key to reaching this bar is to walk past Sakley’s and out the door at the very end, up the stairs and into the top secret “Secret Garden”.

The bar inspired by the 1920s Prohibition era with a stylish and adequate bar counter, vintage dark wood furniture put together, as well as wall art displaying celebrities like Marilyn Monroe, Leonardo DiCaprio, etc. , is surrounded by dim lights and Deephouse beats, which present a perspective of a chic lounge bar.

The Secret Garden wall art. (Photo: Ananya Jain)

Parul Pratap, the chef and wife of Amit Rekhi, founder of The Secret Garden said indianexpress.com that the main intention of creating the bar was also to build a place suitable for women.

“The profile of bars usually changes at night. As a woman, I think there’s not a lot of choice where I would feel safe when I go out drinking, which is exactly what our intention was behind opening a Speakeasy and keeping it obscure,” she said.

Also, when you’re about to enter this secret bar, you’ll notice a quote that says, “I drank so much vodka last night, I woke up with a Russian accent,” which might make you want to… try every drink in the cocktail. menu.

Speaking of the cocktail menu at the bar, Pratap said, “’The Bartender Blues’ is a staple at this bar. We do it with Jameson whiskey, cold pressed apple juice from the mountains and some secret ingredients that will blow your mind!

Besides an innovative cocktail menu, the bar also serves a fusion of Italian and continental dishes. “The slow-roasted pork belly served with honey mustard and homemade mashed potatoes is the most exquisite dish here,” Pratap said.

However, the bar’s story does not end there. The secret garden also extends to a balcony which offers you lush vegetation and a comfortable seating area. Grass from this bar’s garden ironically grows on its wall, adding to its extraordinary exteriors.

2. Speakeasy Cocktails and Dreams

Secretly located in the basement of Cafe Lungta in Sector 15 Market Part 2, Gurgaon, Cocktails and Dreams Speakeasy is the only speakeasy in Gurgaon.

As you descend the basement stairs you will notice a typical dimly lit 1920s style bar with stunning interiors featuring trestle tables, a chic bar counter stocked with liquor bottles and a variety of lined glasses, as well what noise. jazz music in the background.

The bar counter at Cocktails and Dreams Speakeasy. (Photo: Ananya Jain)

Tanya Kumar, Marketing and Community Manager at Cocktails and Dreams, said: “We tend to offer a warehouse but very modern vibe to our visitors through this Speakeasy, which I think makes it a real Speakeasy. .”

Talking about the cocktail menu at this speakeasy, Kumar shared that Cocktails and Dreams serves custom cocktails based on customer moods and preferences. “It’s purely an old-school, interactive experience, where you can talk to the bartender about what you feel like drinking…start with a base and expand it with whatever kind of flavors you want,” a- she declared. indianexpress.com.

Finally, Kumar mentioned “seasonality”, a very distinctive feature of their bar. “We really embrace the seasonality of fruits and vegetables in our cocktails instead of relying on syrups. We make most of our shrubs and cordials from fresh, seasonal produce,” she said.

“Right now we’re serving melon mania which has a muskmelon base. We’re also working on ‘jamuns’ and plums,” she added.

Unlike many other speakeasies in the area, Cocktails and Dreams serves authentic Himalayan cuisine as its main cuisine. Kumar said: “Our cuisine is very specialized and very different from what is usually served in bars. Our Darjeeling and Shyapta momos are to die for! she added.

Cocktails and Dreams Speakeasy wall art. (Photo: Ananya Jain)

Finally, the walls of the Speakeasy also speak of “The Prohibition Era”, displaying influential figures like Al Capone, an American gangster, and Louis Pops Armstrong, an American trumpeter and singer, among many others, adding much character to the speakeasy. .

3. BCP

The interiors of ‘Passcode Only’. (Photo: Ananya Jain)

PCO, also known as Passcode Only, is an American-style Speakeasy Bar located at Vasant Vihar, D-Block Market, Delhi. If you ever visit this place, try to avoid being misled by the entrance!

PCO is a truly hidden world, with its entrance leading nowhere but a strange button machine. In an effort to stay true to its name, “Passcode Only”; the bar allows entry to visitors who have the secret password. As the access code is entered, the visitor is allowed to enter the hidden bar.

When you enter the bar, you get the feel of a cozy and warm place to sit relaxed and enjoy modern intricacies.

“Surrounded by photos from the 90s era, the bar takes me back to Prohibition-era travel,” said Karan Shukla, a visitor to the bar, while sipping on his Tommy’s Margherita.

Vikas Kumar, the bar manager at PCO, said, “Whenever you think of a Speakeasy bar, it resonates with classic cocktails, jazz music, and we try to stay true to that.”

The bar, in order to diversify the cocktail menu for its visitors, has a ‘mood wheel cocktail board’. The mood wheel consists of a variety of moods as well as alcohol preferences. While the customer spins the mood wheel, the bartender serves a drink based on the mood they are on. Covering the cocktail menu, Pratap said: “Besides our tasty dam cocktails, the martinis, which are served here, our gin and tea drink is the best cocktail here and is a must.”

The mood wheel. (Photo: Ananya Jain)

Additionally, PCO also serves a range of delicious cuisines such as Tex-Mex in addition to appetizers.

Nitya Khandelwal, a first time visitor to Speakeasy Bar, said: “The only thing I like about this place is that it’s cozy and peaceful where you can relax and chat with your friends.”

(The writer is an intern at Indian Express)

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