What: The Other Room
Where: Marriott Tang Plaza Hotel
Opening hours: Mondays to Wednesdays: 6pm to 3am; Thursdays to Sundays: 6pm to 4am.
These days, the Prohibition era does little to recall the dark, crime-filled years of a dry 1920s America. Instead it is often associated with glamorous hidden bars with unfathomable menus you need a tiny lamp to peruse under lights that have no business calling themselves that. Superficially, The Other Room is yet another one of such bars. But go through the concealed (of course) door and you’ll see that Dario Knox’s hideout embraces the one bright spark of Prohibition — creativity — in ways that pretenders won’t be bothered with.
Knox, who many will recognise from his days at Hongkong Street bar and restaurant FOC, is like a mad scientist with flavours. There are over 150 spirits at The Other Room and all of them, stripped off their original bottles and labels and placed in identical vessels, are either cask- or spice-finished for a different take on the familiar. Here, a Diplomatico rum can have additional raisin notes while a Sipsmith gin surprises with lavender and white pepper. Order some flights to really taste the difference.
The cocktail menu is just as thrilling. Over 30 recipes have been divided into no fewer than eight categories, ranging from pre- to post-Prohibition, Solera System, Punch and more. And the menu is as eager to educate as the loquacious Knox, with each drink accompanied by a short history of the classic that inspired it, alcoholic strength, ingredients and even glass shape. It’s a little overwhelming, so we’ll suggest starting with the 1928. All we’ll say is that it’s a gin-based cocktail; we don’t want to ruin the surprise.
If you’re tired of the libations in your cabinet and want to experience unexpected new tastes in a sophisticated, intimate setting, step into The Other Room.
Best bits: Conversations with Dario Knox