What’s On gets first look at a new speakeasy bar in Dubai. Nippon Bottle Company at Dusit Thani is a hidden bar in Dubai, behind a bookcase.

Sky-high bars
Outdoor bars
Best Japanese
Smoking ban?

Dubai’s first speakeasy bar has opened its doors. Well, opened its bookcase to be specific.

Details of the Nippon Bottle Company have been shrouded in secrecy since it began posting on social media at the start of the year. But on Tuesday night, What’s On‘s special agents snuck in to a pre-launch party to bring you the first look.

So, first and foremost, how do you find it? Located at Dusit Thani hotel on Sheikh Zayed Road, this ‘secret bar’ can be found behind not one, but two hidden entrances on the ground floor. First up, a bookcase, floor-to-ceiling, and filled with classic literary titles. Quite what the books chosen for the shelf represent, we don’t know. Among them:

– Day Of Reckoning by Jack Higgins
– Hannibal Rising by Thomas Harris
– Smile, Honey by Anabel Donald
– The Ice Cream Girls by Dorothy Koomson
– The Biographer’s Moustache by Kingsley Amis
– Seek My Face by John Updike
– Gazza: My Story by Paul Gascoigne
– Bridget Jones: The Edge Of Reason by Helen Fielding

After that, it’s into a mirrored-room, wonderfully decorated with reflective surfaces jutting out at different angles. Members need to use their phone numbers to find out which corner of which mirror to press to gain access to the bar itself.

What is a ‘speakeasy’?
Originally illegal ‘bars’ popular in prohibition era America, they are now spots that don’t advertise and rely on word-of-mouth to reach their exclusive clientele

“It’s a terrific opening gambit,” our spies say.

Once inside, you’ll find a dimly-lit, long space, lined on one side by a bar, and on the other by high couches, smooth wood finished surfaces, and shapely bar stools. “This is Japanese street culture, inspired by bold and exciting customs, blended with personality and culture,” the bar says, in the limited information it has made public.

The walls and ceilings are decorated with plenty of neon – mostly of the brand name – and trendy light fittings; Edison bulbs hang in patches throughout.

The primary ingredient behind the bar is Japanese whisky, while the drinks list is a who, what, where and when of Samurai culture; the Hattori Hanzo, the Blushing Geisha and more. “A harmonious blend of modern twists and tradition,” they claim. Bottles and casings are covered in similar iconography.

There’s no doubt Nippon Bottle Company is a cool place, and we love the concept, but once you get past the intriguing entrance, it’s little more than a nice, new bar.

Details on how you can get membership is still not available, but in the meantime, perhaps look a little closer and those random bookcases you see in hotel foyers.

Dusit Thani, Sheikh Zayed Road, Dubai. Tel: (04) 3570779. Metro: Financial Centre. facebook.com/pages/Nippon-Bottle-Company/1530671077215983