Speakeasy Bars Make Their Mark in Hyderabad

About a century ago in 1920, the government of the United States of America had imposed prohibition on its citizens all over the country. Liquor production, distribution, sale, and consumption were banned through an amendment to the constitution. However, the Americans loved their drinks and it was very difficult to enforce such a ban. Illegal liquor bars came up in many places to cater to the demand, and they became known as Speakeasy bars. The term “speakeasy” stood for whispering or speaking softly to avoid undue attention from the police.


The bars were generally very quiet and dimly lit places with no signboards and decoy entrances which were known only to the patrons. The alcohol served were of the cheap unlicensed and bootlegged varieties like gin often made in bathtubs at homes and underage whisky along with a handful of basic cocktails. The cocktails were typically sugary and colourful to mask the lack of palatability of the cheap liquor. Mary Pickford, a white rum and pineapple based drink named after the famous actress of silent movies of that period deserve a mention here. People used to know about these bars only through word-of-mouth, and often passcodes were needed to gain entrance to these places.

Gigglewater

After prohibition ended in 1933 these bars lost some popularity. However, as a recent trend, a new crop of bars with the speakeasy concept has sprung up often sporting a retro look, playing soft music and serving signature cocktails. Some bars have innovative entrances through basements or through trial rooms in retail stores. Exclusivity is also promoted in many of these places. While New York had initially many such popular bars, the trend travelled to Europe and then reached South East Asia and India quite soon.

The modern-day Hyderabad also has a few bars of this variety. One of them is Giggle Water located in the busy Jubilee Hills area. You have to know the entrance inside a popular restaurant to gain entry here. A spiral staircase takes you to the bar upstairs. The place has dimly-lit lamps lighting the place with comfortable sofas as well as table seating. A set of house rules are prominently displayed in the room.  Events like Gin and Jazz Night and Bootlegger’s Night are regularly held here for the loyal clientele. What makes this place more inconspicuous is the fact that it operates as a coworking place during the day.

Room Two

Another popular speakeasy is Room Two located well inside a well-known microbrewery again in Jubilee Hills. The speakeasy is accessible through a hidden door inside the brewery. The candlelit tables here set the mood for enjoying some delectable cocktails, both from the prohibition era as well as some interesting concoctions created by the bar. Butter and bacon washed cocktails are some of these which are in great demand here. As per Chapay Anand, the bar manager, the response to this place has been phenomenal with references by the existing customers resulting in many newcomers visiting the place.

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