Kubrick had imagined that the password was Fidelio, Eyes Wide Shut you should all know him. Brian De Palma in The Untouchables populated them with local criminals with a Sicilian accent who, between one whiskey and another, started gunshots. Same thing for Sergio Leone, so much so that in Once Upon a Time in America
become places of torture and mischief. They are the secret clubs, those places where you need a password, a key, an invitation to enter. Call them speak easy, those places that during the American Prohibition of the 20s sold whiskey under the counter that was served in tea or milk cups to confuse in case of sudden inspections by the guards. Fake doors, secret accesses, telephones to call, whispered words so as not to be too conspicuous and so as not to let the voice get outside: this meant speak easy – speak softly – and even today the idea wants to be this, even if in some cases remodeled and a bit abused.
Secret places, known by everyone and where not everyone has access. Not only speak easy in the strictest sense of the word – a club like this should recall the atmosphere of the Prohibition stars and stripes clubs and serve almost exclusively whiskey – but also club membership only with a more international flavour and unexpected venues that turn into music halls. A more relaxed drink, where you can talk calmly at the bartender and get advice without haste, with premium products and a few people around (in most cases) to enjoy the evening until late at night.
In short, call them what you want, in this list of venues enter only if invited or if you know these secret passages. How to do it? In many cases being active drinkers at the bar counters makes you an excellent target to be invited to the secret bars of the city. A few tips to not look foolish: never order Virgin Mojito, be prepared on column cocktails like Old Fashioned, Sazerac, Martini and Boulevardier, remember that you write whiskey in Ireland and the United States and whisky in Scotland and Canada, and the road to the invitation is less difficult. Now, without taking yourself too seriously, hanging out with serial drinkers and having the easy toast will make things easier for you. Like us who now confuse our house keys with those of the bars, the email password with the password of the speak easy in Milan, the Iban code with the one to enter these places. Hunt for the invitation, but don’t tell anyone.
Translated by Sila Turku Askin