Monday, 2 March 2009

The best secret bars

Travellers can't seem to get enough of speakeasies. Check out this top secret drinking dens piece from yesterday's Observer Escape.

As soon as I read the headline, I scanned the page for the mention of Buenos Aires. It was inevitable given t
his city's long-standing word-of-mouth culture. And, sure enough, there it was: a mention of good ol' Ocho7Ocho - which I've previously tipped in the Guardian.

Today's speakeasies can be divided in two genres. There are the rare, gritty ones that are hoping not to get caught. And the above-board, new ones who are playing marketing games, such as a New York bar calling itself PDT, standing for Please Don't Tell. As if.

So, what is it about a lack of sign that makes people go ga-ga?

First, it makes people feel in-the-know. (
Even though it may have been going for years and everyone in town knows about.)
Second, it conjures a boho spirit. (Even though the owners are probably making a fortune.)
Third, it feels rebellious. (Even though most are completely above board.).

Yes, it's one big, fat illusion and we're all falling for it. But let's enjoy it. I am. Here's another "bar escondido" (hidden bar) I've recently discovered in Buenos Aires: Puerta Uno in Belgrano.

Want to know where it is? See their ultra-flashy website, telling you, er, exactly where to find it. The website designer must have let that one slip accidentally. Don't tell, will you.