Article By XIANEASE
There’s no shortage of pretty good places to get a drink in town, but if you’re tired of the same old song-and-dance of bottle shops and mediocre cocktails, you might be craving a different kind of experience. The speakeasy, a classic style of bar that was most prominent in the Prohibition-era United States, might be that new experience. The most distinctive quality of a speakeasy is its secrecy; this trait was once necessary to hide from authorities, but nowadays it’s mostly a tool for cultivating a sense of exclusivity and/or cool. Either way, there is something eminently exciting about watching a hidden door swing open to reveal a wonderland of booze. We’ve got the scoop on all the most secretive of speakeasies in town, and now we’ll share with you so you can count yourself amongst those in-the-know.
01 CINNAMON PINK
The first speakeasy we heard of in town, Cinnamon isn’t super hidden but isn’t super obvious either. A little sign next to the entrance, which is just inside Hanguang Gate, is all that will alert you to its presence. Once inside and up the stairs all you’ll find is a golden cocktail shaker on a pedestal, as if you were starring in Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Bar. When you pull it, a hidden door will allow you entry into a sleek, modernist bar.
Tian Shui Jing Jie, Beilin District.
Phone: (029) 8962 8697 Hours: 7:00pm-2:00am
02 MR. K BAR & LOUNGE
Mr. K, located near Zhuque Gate, is also not exactly hidden—but it did confuse the hell out of one of our reviewers, who did not anticipate that the switch to open the door was in the Olmeca head’s nose. Once you’ve appeased him with a good nose-picking, he swings aside and lets you pass into the spacious bar decorated with many more Olmeca heads. This swanky place can make drinks quickly and has live performances as well.
No.8, Tai Yang Miao Men, Beilin District.
Phone: (029) 8737 1545 Hours: 8:00pm-3:00am
03 MORE WHISKY
More Whisky Bar’s liquid pleasures are locked behind a keypad, which is not adorned with numbers, but rather with a set of Chinese characters—some familiar, some cryptic. We’re not sure of the exact combination, but we think it’s safe to say that inputting 我,要,喝, and酒 (“I want to drink alcohol”) should allow you inside. This whisky, martini and cigar bar has everything you need to indulge your inner robber-baron-fat-cat.
South Gate of Qujiang 6 Hao, Cuiwei Road
Phone: (029) 8550 8552
04 THE CIRQUE
Don’t be fooled by the quaint, unattended charms of the Chinese medicine shop before you. Like any good secret room, Cirque is hidden behind the bookcase. Slide it open and you’ll find a top-notch cocktail bar and, if you’re one of the V-I-est-Ps, you’ll perhaps get to enjoy the also-hidden VIP lounge, complete with a private bar.
Southwest corner square at the intersection of Xinkaimen South Road and Hanyao Road.
05 BAR TAKE 5 (GAOXIN)
While you might be familiar with Take 5’s captain-of-industry-styled bar inside Zhuque Gate, their new location in Gaoxin on Keji Lu is maybe the ultimate in Xi’an speakeasies. Your friends will wonder why the hell you’re taking them to an Everyday convenience store, and then you’ll get to enjoy their bafflement when you push a button on the back wall and reveal a bar that feels like it was just out of the Jazz Age. See our review in this issue for more details.
Inside of Everyday convenience store, Block A, Jinqiao International Plaza, Keji Road.
Phone: (029) 8822 8057