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Mercure Brisbane opens new speakeasy bar

Mercure Brisbane has opened a new speakeasy bar that has become the talk of the Queensland capital.

Keeping true to the thrill of a speakeasy, Legends Speakeasy Bar serves up a 1900’s prohibition experience in a secret location only disclosed through longitudinal and latitudinal co-ordinates.

Finding the entrance is half the challenge. To gain entry, guests are then required to recite a passcode, which is posted to the bar’s social media accounts every Thursday at 3:30pm.

Once inside, the theatrics continue as patrons are greeted by the sound of jazz and blues which match the bar’s old-world-saloon-meets-Victorian-steampunk aesthetic.

What’s more impressive than Legends overnight success is the story behind its creation. It was 26-year-old AccorHotels Restaurant and Bar Manager Bharathraj vallekadavil Rajiv (Bharath), who stumbled across the bar’s hidden location and saw its raw potential.

“When I asked why the bar was not in use the team told me that they had tried to revive the space a few times but nothing seemed to work as there was no foot traffic to the location and the entrance was too hard to find. Instead of seeing these points as limitations, I used them to my advantage and developed an authentic speakeasy concept where the search was part of the experience,” said Bharath.

The passionate mixologist approached the hotel’s General Manager who was intrigued by the concept and allocated Bharath a budget of $60,000 to get it off the ground.

Bharath was resourceful when it came to keeping to his limited budget, explaining, “I spent many a weekends at local markets looking for one-on-a-kind furnishings that would add character to the space without a hefty price tag. Finding Tommy, our vintage phone that helps people find the entrance was definitely a happy day!”

Instead of spending money on signage and advertising, Baharath invested time in disguising the bar’s entrance even further and developed a social media strategy to create buzz surrounding the secret bars launch. In just 4 weeks, the bar’s Instagram page has gained over 1,450 followers.

Legends stocks over 180 liquors and top shelf spirits as well as a variety of wine and tap beer, however it’s their artesian cocktails that are in high demand. The seasonal cocktail list is comprised of ten classic concoctions that give a nod to the 80’s, as well as ten signature cocktails that have been developed by Bharath himself.

“We didn’t want to serve cocktails for cocktails sake, we wanted to serve a memorable experience, meaning the theatrics behind the bar are as important as the final taste of each drink,” said Bharath.

Some of the venue’s most popular cocktails include the whiskey based Steampunk Old Fashioned, which is smoked with Applewood live in front of guests, the Honeycomb Bliss which combines scotch, Wild Turkey honey liqueur, butterscotch and a dollop of honey melted from fresh honeycomb and the Ignited Passion served with a flaming finale.

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