“This is either going to be an amazing night or an embarrassing failure”, was my first thought when my friend suggested we try to search for the secret pub she’d heard about through the grapevine. Her hairdresser seems to be an endless source for gossip.
But why not? If this would end up in failure, who was there to witness it? So we hit the streets of this town’s empire-styled blocks, in search of an exciting evening. Giggling and feeling slightly self-concious we walked up and down the streets, peeking into inner courtyards and gateways. Every arched door was scrutinized. “Does this look suspicious enough? Was that door unmarked?”
We went by the scantiest of clues: we knew only that there was no suggestion that the bar was there, judged by the door, and there would be a doorbell inside. We knew the street, approximately anyway, and that there was a blackened window next to the door… Whatever that meant. Eventually we’d narrowed down our options to a single possibility. My friend kept stalling.
“Should we? We can’t just go pull the handle… Can we?”
I marched up to the door. It opened up to a small space with a wooden door across the space. The door had a wicket at eye-level. Like in movies. We stepped inside warily. My friend suggested we find the doorbell, as we had been instructed. I felt like I had stepped onto a movieset. “A speakeasy? Behind a door with a peek-hole?” The feeling of having unexpectedly stepped back in time was slightly unsettling and made me want to laugh nervously. We rang the bell.
A man opened the wicket. “How many belongs to your party?” He asked. When I assured him there were just the two of us, he told us to wait. “We’ll let you in shortly.” My friend and I shared a glance. This was bordering on the absurd. Perhaps there were hidden cameras? Or maybe this was a secret mafia hideout, and the door behind us had already been locked and we were simply waiting for someone to come and do away with us. We speculated on the possibilities in hushed voices. Somhow the paranoia of being overheard had settled on us.
Eventually they did let us in. We were barraged with rules for our stay: no pictures, no table hopping and out through the back-door. The bar had been decorated like a scene from a Hercule Poirot show. Plush armchairs, paisley and flowery wallpapers, old wooden tables and dim lights. The drinks though – as we soon figured out – were great.
When we left, there was a slight glitter of success and excitement in our eyes. Goofy, victorious smiles and easy laughter. After all, we’d had an amazing evening, one we would remember for a very long time.
I was glad, we hadn’t given in to the number of excuses.