Monday, 10 June 2013

How sleazy is your speakeasy?

So where are you having drinks these days? Pubs are for losers. Bars? Are you from Essex? No, we all know that the only place to drink in London these days are speakeasies. Little back room dens of debauchery, hidden away, often with no sign or visble entrance. Drinks are stylish cocktails, made for you by winking experts in granddad shirts and people there are sophisticated intellectuals, needing their drinking places to be witty, bohemian and private. But how do you know if your speakeasy is the real deal, or just some band-wagon jumping imitation? My handy quiz will tell you all you need to know.

1. Buzz
Did you find out about your speakeasy:

a. In the 'speakeasy' section in the Guardian Weekend trendy London places for nice middle class people to go and avoid chavvy types pullout?

b. Overheard being whispered about in a queue at your local street food gathering?

c. It was 3am and your barman directed you too it after passing the secret initiation 'test' to check you're not wearing a wire, working for the government, or a member of a rival hoodlum gang, complete with splurge guns and men with greasy faces carrying violin cases wearing suits with wide chalk stripes?
2. Location
is your speakeasy:

a. actually just a redesigned bar in quite a pleasant part of Balham?

b. Hidden in the back room of a Hackney kebab shop?

c. Behind a closed door with an ironic sign fooling you called 'Disabled Toilet' or 'No Entry' or something?

3. Name
Is your speakeasy called:

a. Something British and double-barrelled, like 'Tomkins and Copperpot' evocative of some Victorian importing company using overtly flowery and slightly out-of-date words such as 'purveyors of fine inebriation'?

b. Something daring and seedy, slightly piratey maybe, like 'cutthroat joe's dirty dog death room'?

c. Nobody knows your name, you are just a rumour, and your spirit is so damned wild and free anyway a name would be too constraining.

4. Decor
Is your speakeasy decor:

a. An ironic reworking of the tea rooms from Last of the Summer Wine, complete with gingham, window nets and coloured tinfoil ashtrays?

b. mish-mash of Edwardian mahogany parlour furniture, chesterfield sofas and leather trunks, evocative of your sophisticated, eclectic yet laid-back tastes?

c. The complete stock of a local taxidermy and curiosity shop, complete with human skeletons wearing top hats and jewellery, two-headed lambs and schoolroom biology diagrams?

5. Staff

Do your speakeasy staff wear:

a. Chemistry lab coats?

b. Waistcoats, wax moustaches, slick back hair and appearing like they work in a solicitors' accounts department in 1935?

c. Vintage mix channeling Talloulah meets Bet Lynch?

6. Drinks
Are your speakeasy drinks:

a. The speakeasy's 'own range of in-house cocktails, dreamed up by a skilled mixologist to excite and delight your senses'?

b. Botanical gin-based classics blended with a hint of nostalgia and served in china teapots, mini school milk bottles with straws and jars of Bonne Maman jam? (Editors note - those are all real btw)

c. A collection of illegal contraband whiskies fresh from a recent hold-up by Tommy two-guns on the outskirts of Chicago?


All 'a's : Wheezy. Your speakeasy is nothing but a thinly veiled pastiche, about as authentic as a wetherspoons pub.

All 'b's :  Semi-sleazy. Your speakeasy is in the zone. Still a bit accessible though, needs to crank up the eclecticness somewhat, work on it's edgy points.

All 'c's. Greazy. Well done, your speakeasy is the real deal. You wouldn't even be able to find it again, and don't even know if it was actually real of just a mysterious dream you had.

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