I went to the latest speakeasy of town
I always got a thing for speakeasies.
It became quite trendy in Paris a few years ago, whereas in Milan, every person into mixology knows about the 1930 cocktails bar. As I teach in a design school about food experiences, I often use the example of La Esquina in NYC, trying to illustrate that what matters is not only what you eat/drink but the experience you get around… If you google La Esquina, you will find the pictures of a “taqueria” /delhi, that looks like a old small tacos bar. But if you manage to pass through a secret door, you get projected in a latino space with a huge counter bar that reminds the alcohol prohibition period.
As soon as I read about the Dandelion opening, my curiosity rose. After a couple of posts from persons of the field on IG, I decide to contact the bar.
I received a rebus and no explanation. I immediately started to think about a solution and ask to my +1, as I was not Italian, if he had some inputs. At the end, we elaborated the solution quite fast but due to a problem with my browser setup, we started having doubts and during the night, while sipping a cocktail at Les Rouges (brand new cocktail bar in Porta Romana area that I recommend), I eventually ended asking the bartender if he has something in mind: maybe the answer was requiring mixology knowledge I did not have…
He came up with a crazy idea that just bought us a good laugh. The morning after I shared my doubts with an “expert” person that had already been there and she confirmed we were right, and had probably struggles with the code. We eventually managed to book and got as a confirmation a “password” and the name of a street. Yes the street not the exact address...
The night of the booking, we arrived to the street and understood immediately where to go. We gave our password and where asked to wait. I won’t give you all the details in case some of you want to go there and live the whole experience.
Entering Dandelion is like entering a crossroad space between Tatoine planet (Starwars), the Skorpio in Mykonos and a trendy restaurant in Milan (eg. Rost). A minimalist temple dedicated to mixology and multisensorial experiences.
After a few minutes trying to analyze the list (I hope one day I will finally get a phd in mixology menu reading…), I opted for a cocktail with cachaça base.
Some minutes of mixology show later, I received my cocktail. Standing inside, a huge ice cube, basically the metaphor of an iceberg. Did I tell you have a passion for perfect ice cube? so for sure, I was an happy kid. After a brief explanation about the ingredients, some advice on how to drink it, I got informed that my cocktail was paired with appropriate music and that when we enter, they had spray some scents in the air for a perfect sensorial experience. It reminded me that day I went to breathe a gin cocktail in London during a Bompas and Parr exhibition or another day I attended a workshop led by Charles Spencer from Oxford about sounds impact on taste perception.
So would I be back? you may ask yourself... The answer is yes. The bar is now in soft opening but the objective is to open later to bigger audiences, they created a room for smokers and the ambiance is quite electrifying.
The good news is, I got my member card!