You’d never guess that there’s anything amiss at ‘The Press,’ a sandwich bar in Shanghai, unless you actually witnessed the surreal sight of someone pulling a lever on a vintage Coca-Cola machine and disappearing into it. The soda machine acts as a secret entrance to ‘The Flask,’ a contemporary lounge that forms a stark contrast to the brightly-lit sandwich shop.
Collectively known as The Flash and the Press, this hidden speakeasy by Alberto Caiola may not be the only such concept in town, but with the Coke machine and unexpected visuals, it adds another layer to the experience of accessing an exclusive-feeling ‘secret’ space.
Once you open the door to that machine, the fun, bright, upbeat environment of the diner melts away and you’re enveloped by a dark, angular elegance marrying traditional speakeasy details like oversized glass liquor bottles with modern aesthetics. The bar is dimly-lit and eclectically furnished to recreate the subversive, fly-by-night feel of the originals.
Another hidden speakeasy, this one in New York, requires a bit more of visitors in order to gain access – you have to meander up a winding path through a deserted building to reach what seems like an industrial wasteland. ‘The Night Heron’ was held illegally inside a water tower on top of a vacant building in Chelsea.