Standing at the bottom of the stairs under Lindes Lane, everything looks pretty standard, with nothing to suggest anything out of the ordinary might be happening down there. That is, until the great fireplace on the far wall suddenly swings open and a group of laughing party-goers spill out. Suddenly, the once-bare room is filled with the sound of a piano jauntily being played, the clink of glasses and the smell of warm bread.
Barlow is the name of this secret speakeasy, tucked away from all responsibility and the reality of the modern world. We’re not exaggerating by that by the way, as one of the side effects of being in a hidden bar underground means there’s minimal phone signal, forcing you to actually socialise with your friends.
The lighting is dim but warm, emitting only from mismatched vintage lamps and a few candles dotted around. The other-worldy feel is furthered by the number of op-shop knick-knacks huddled together on odd surfaces and corners, and the stacks of thick, leather-bound books housing the drink and tapas menus.
Though the cocktail list is not large, it’s composed of a selection of classic and modern drinks to please the senses, like the timeless Manhattan or the joie de vivre drink of the moment, an Espresso Martini. The wine list reflects that of Barlow’s big sister Lindes, with boutique wines aplenty and French Champagne on offer for a real Great Gatsby moment.
Similar to the wine list, the food list offers canapé versions of a selection of dishes from upstairs, as well as a tapas-style menu of mini foccachias with fillings like proscuitto, cheese, rocket and tomato, and other nibble dishes like baked potato slice and cheese boards.
If you can’t wait to bunker down in this warm little escape just off Rundle Mall, Barlow are having a ticketed launch party Saturday the 18th of June (tomorrow evening) from 6pm-9pm, with public access granted just after.
Images courtesy of Ian Callahan