They said ‘You should go, you should go,’ they said ‘you should definitely go there!’. They insisted, trembled, rolled their eyes. So I went there. A dark, boudoir, noir basement with poker tables and heavy velvet curtains. Everywhere are either tail coats, or night dresses. The menu is laid out into playing cards a la taro. Drinks are terrific. – Well, how do you like the Kabinet bar? – A one-time thing. And that’s why.
Oh, and now the indignation of the supreme bartenders’ league – who visit the Kabinet as their sanctuary – will lash out against me. For a common person like me, who still is a zealous bar theme enthusiast, such places are always the most challenging ones. I hope that the speakeasy game that started a couple of years ago will soon play itself out and we will return to the old good bars that are easy to find and impossible to forget, where you come back again and again. But since speakeasy is high up on the wave such oddities still occur. We are looking for this secret bar without a sign, and sure enough we are looking in the backyard. The guys smoking there explain how to get there. We go into the burger house, turn to the restroom – there’s a secret door to the basement. At the door we meet the same guys who showed us the way (waiters on the cigarette break) and they say: – We’ll go in now, and you’ll call in a minute to observe the ritual. And everything would be logical, but there is no ritual. You just go down into the pitch dark cellar under the restroom, the hostess meets you downstairs and if you’re dressed inappropriately – they put a stuffy, synthetic mantle on you so that you, God forbid, wouldn’t break the tender crackling of candles with your sweater.
After these curtseys, the beaming R-Keeper display right in the middle of the bar shelves provokes a bewilderment at the very least. But we went through everything, we are sitting at a noble table with a mounting bartender behind it. He gives us a choice of 4 elements: earth, fire, air and water – and explains what types of drinks they symbolize. Four drinks per each element. We choose cocktails from the very hip and magically drawn cards they offered us. All of the cocktails are damn good, if you clearly understand what you like. But it could be not to your liking if you prefer something strong and sweet and you’re not into cocktails with a hint of chocolate, but four out of two cards contain this component and there is a probability that you quickly get bored.
The conversation with the bartender was running dry for quite some time until his colleague joined. And then the same old story about ice, bitters, equipment and stuff came into play. I wanted to go out to the fresh air.
My destiny for the evening was to drink cocktails and keep quiet. Although OK, the drinks were excellent, balanced and interesting. The Kabinet positions itself high, with much of elegancy and splendor, just take a look at their Instagram profile alone. It embodies the drinking culture pre-revolutionary Petersburg from the beginning of the last century. It’s a great place for an intimate date or for a hardcore connoisseur of cocktails, as well as for fans of quests and those, who like the special atmosphere. For regular barhopping pickupers it’s not an easy option, neither very interesting. As my friend said: – There’s not enough mantles for everyone. If they want a refined audience, they gotta open in a refined place, and not under a burger place toilet. He’s got a point, you know. The bar would lose big times if it would have opened in a fashionable place with high prices, but without playing speakeasy? Ok, wait. This same ‘secret cocktail society’, which stays opened three days a week, with its own Instagram account and Facebook page, speakeasy is our everything.
Malaya Sadovaya 8, St. Petersburg
Thu, Fri, Sat – 8:00 p.m. – 3:00 a.m.
+7 911 921-19-44