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This Shanghai Speakeasy Is Hidden In A Sandwich Shop

This Shanghai Speakeasy Is Hidden In A Sandwich Shop

Ever since the end of Prohibition in the United States, “speakeasy” has been a popular theme for cocktail bars and bacchanalian university parties alike. But one bar, located in the heart of Shanghai’s historic French Concession district, has put an amazing new spin on the concept.

Flask & The Press, as the project is called by designer Alberto Caiolo, is actually a dual establishment masquerading as one: visitors to the street-facing sandwich shop and diner, called The Press, will admire the sleek minimal design, neon accents, and most of all, the decorative, vintage Coca-Cola machine placed innocently in a corner.


But, to patrons in the know, the front of that vending machine opens to reveal a dimly-lit cocktail lounge like a grown-up Room of Requirement.


The Flask, as the speakeasy is called, is connected to the The Press only by a brick-lined hallway, and represents a complete aesthetic contrast  – the designer’s website refers to the whole project as “a juxtaposition of light and dark, elegance and funkyness, personal and playful.”


The environmental shift from sandwich shop to secret drinking establishment is evident in the muted lighting, dark wooden floors, and leather upholstery. One lighting installation features dozens of 25-litre whisky jars placed in rows on floor-to-ceiling shelves, while another features only the slightly sinister outline of flasks hidden under cloth.

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Sculptural, geometric light fixtures hang from the ceiling, and mirrors placed strategically throughout the space generate various optical illusions. It might not be illegal to drink here, but everything about The Flask certainly feels illicit. Best of all, you won’t need to worry about keeping your new favourite bar a secret.


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