Travel back to a time of defiance at The Back Room
You walk down a beautiful hallway, eager to discover whether what you’ve heard is fact or fiction. Coincidentally, there are a few helpful friends who can read your anticipation, aware exactly of what it is you’re looking for.
“The Back Room,” you tell them unsurely if it’s your first time, to which they reply with a curt nod or playful smile.
One of them knocks twice on a black door to your left, which opens to reveal what may very well be a time machine. You enter and are quickly enamored by the elegant marbled walls, sleek leather couches, and beautiful leather panels. But the most impressive attraction is the bar, which immediately appeases your wildest imaginations.
This is one of Shangri-La at the Fort’s latest creations – a speakeasy reminiscent of the Prohibition Era. Many in the Philippines have tried to build establishments which bring back memories of whispered passwords, the sneaking of liquor away from watchful eyes, and the feeling of rebellion, but few execute it with the style and substance that The Back Room provides.
Spearheaded by mixologist Ulysse Jouanneaud, the most mysterious and interesting bar in Bonifacio Global City boasts of drinks that won’t be available anywhere else in the world. Unfortunately, you won’t find your favorite Old Fashioned or Negroni cocktails on the menu, but here’s what you get instead: unique concoctions you wouldn’t have even thought were possible to create, 150 different types of Gin (60% of which aren’t in the PH market), timeless alcoholic choices, and bar bites to rivet your pallete.
Each drink is served with question cards to spark the conversation just in case your date wasn’t going as fun as planned, although do make sure to follow the house rules on the menu. You are back in the hush-hush era of the 20s, after all.
In 2019, it’s almost impossible to market a bar of this magnitude without the help of social media, which is why The Back Room faced a dilemma. Option a.) adhere to the demands of the modern PR machine to increase excitement; or option b.) stay true to the theme of Prohibition and keep the excitement as inconspicuous as possible.
After its inception, images of The Back Room on their Instagram account composed of just a black door – nearly identical to the actual one of the bar. Curious consumers concluded a new speakeasy was in town, although few were able to predict where it was. The PR team of The Back Room would get messages from people who sent pictures of random black doors, asking if they were at the right spot.
The old-school ways remained effective.
To take it further, the number of the bar on its website led to a voice on the other line narrating a fictional story about The Back Room, leaving those who called to reserve a tad bit bewildered.
Once news spread, The Back Room let its unique menu work its magic.
“The bar’s philosophy is more tipple than fare,” according to the press release of TBR. There are 18 signature cocktails categorized into 5 themes based on taste preference which are named after a specific narrative of the Prohibition Era: Jag Juice (strong, flavor-forward), Giggle Water (sophisticated, glamorous), Live wire (refreshing), Moonshine (experimental), and On a Toot (for sharing).
The Back Room also has its own homemade gin – Bee’s Knees – that pays tribute to popular Philippine ingredients: dalandan, malunggay, and sampaguita.
What to expect? “A dry and floral taste when downing the drink,” so you know what to do.
Here are other must-orders at The Back Room:
Right in the Kisser (P450) - A smoky, fruity, and fizzy drink composed of gin, smoky tea, sweet vermouth, Campari, and peach liquor.
Ransom Note (P500) - Tequilla, pistachio, agave, lemon, and hazelnut make up this “frivolous” drink that has nutty and sour flavors.
Dirty Sanchez (P450) - Under the Moonshine category for the more adventurous personalities, the Dirty Sanchez is comprised of mezcal washed bacon, peppercorn, clarified strawberry, and holy smoke. Are smoky, earthy, or fruity drinks your vibe? Then you’ll like this.
Burnt Ends (P425) - Your choice between beef brisket or pork shoulder with Spanish paprika rub and Jack’s Crack BBQ sauce. Yum.
Fresh Catch (P575) - AKA Tuna Poke, with seaweed cracker, sesame vinaigrette, and macadamia.
Pop Rocks (P450) - Craving for some sisig? TBR’s got you covered. An order of Pop Rocks gives you crispy skin and triple-cooked pork with onion cream and calamansi.
When it comes down to it, The Back Room is suitable for almost any type of outing. Craving a drink after a tough day of work? It’s the spot to be. Got a reunion planned with your barkada to accomplish how far you’ve all gotten in your careers? Head there. Looking to chat with some friendly people? TBR’s staff is very accommodating.
The original idea for The Back Room was to make it a nightclub. Shangri-La at the Fort opted to instead go back in time, giving everyone else the chance to use a time machine with a yummy gin-and-tonic in hand. – Rappler.com