South End welcomed a sneaky new speakeasy this week and you’ll need a password to get in.
It’s a small, dark space with ornate gold ceilings, lounge seating and a central bar you can access from all sides.
This is very much a show bar with some performative cocktail prep going on, the kind of place where the making of your drink is as much a part of the experience as drinking your drink. Crushed ice, for example, is made by dropping a block of ice in a bag and whacking it with a wooden mallet.
The menu is dense with full paragraph descriptions detailing the origins of about 20 classic cocktails priced $12-$20.
The Double Smoked Agave Old Fashioned is a unique spin on the traditional bourbon cocktail made instead with mezcal, agave nectar, angostura bitters and orange peel and then infused with hickory smoke.
The QC Sour – a frothy, colorful mix of Blade & Bow bourbon, sugar, lemon and egg white – is topped with a red wine float, making it the most photogenic of the three I checked out.
And The Wolf is Room 1812’s take on a Moscow Mule with Absolut Lime vodka, fresh lime juice, ginger beer and a rotating seasonal flavored syrup. This is one that comes with the mallet-whacking crushed ice production.
Here’s how to get into Room 1812:
Allow me to ruin the fun of figuring it out on your own. It’s my job.
Figure out the password – Follow @room_1812 on Instagram for the daily password drop.
Look for a wooden door on the back side of the building – It’s behind a fence under a red awning.
Ring the bell – A bartender will pick up and ask for the password. State it exactly as written. They take it seriously. The day I went it was a full phrase, not a word and I kept messing it up. I was there specifically for coverage for this story and had already been inside they wouldn’t even let me back in if I said it wrong. Get it right.
Walk down a long, dark hallway and you’re in – You made it.
Bonus entrance: Order dessert at The Manchester – If you’re upstairs at the restaurant and order dessert or after dinner drinks, your server will escort you through a hidden door down to Room 1812 to finish up your meal there.
Room 1812 is open Monday through Saturday at 5 p.m.
And on the weekends they’ll have a DJ spinning from a makeshift jail cell booth.
Be sure to follow on Instagram to catch the daily password and, uh, don’t tell anyone I told you.