A few warnings, before we begin: “We ask that you set silence your mobile phone” and “We ask that you refrain from taking pictures and do not tag yourselves on social networks. You would contribute to the loss of the enchantment of a timeless place”. Here we are at 1930 (and part of the same group of Mag Cafè, Backdoor43, Barba and Iter) the place everyone’s talking about, a special club, exclusive. The Milanese secret spot inspired by the prohibitionist American speakeasy.
A globe. A piano. Dancing notes that warm the atmosphere. Armchairs, chairs and sofas. A simple counter, deliciously ’30s. Unique pieces of furniture that make up the hall and, among the other memorabilia, the original dress Alain Delon wore during the shooting of one of his movies. Few places for a chat among friends, for the “friends of the MAG”, the historic place on the Navigli in Ripa di Porta Ticinese 43 and Barba, of recent opening, in Via San Gregorio 40.
In a city where there are no more secrets, where fame is chased, it leaves everyone baffled with its mystery. In fact, to make a reservation isn’t enough, you have to find out what the address is first. To get access you will need to be let in by a member or give in to the pleasant idea of having to hang out at the MAG, and enter the graces of the owners. The first time we went, I remember going down the lane, which I knew all too well, wondering behind which window, seen hundreds of times before, the famous little door would appear. The “cover place” perfectly masks the entrance: a takeaway pizzeria just a few square meters large, somewhere between a Chinese restaurant and a kebab.
Our colleague shows his pass, a white card with only a small emblem of the logo 1930 and his name – in full prohibition style – written with an invisible ink which is visible only under UV light. I still can’t believe it. Here we are, an extremely chic waitress shows us the way and, before we know it, we’re in.
It’s 10:00 and we have the fortune of enjoying the pianist almost exclusively for another hour or so, before the other guests begin to arrive. We take advantage and ask for a few songs and to taste something from the menu’: the tartare burger. Delicious. Choosing the cocktails is definitely more difficult than choosing the food, but allowing yourself to be inspired comes naturally in a place like this, that’s why we begin with a round of the seasonal proposals.
Just like this bar isn’t a simple bar, the menu is not a simple menu. It’s a book, actually, some kind of feuilleton divided in episodes that mixes the drink proposals and a story set inside the speakeasy. The cocktails, at first sight, leave flabbergasted. Maybe you’ll know just half of the ingredients used but the only thing you need to do is trust the staff. The Jungle Book, with its notes of gin and tropical aromas is one of the best ones. The Silk doesn’t joke around either, with a herbal scent of sake and its cup wrapped up in a silk drape. And the lovers of strong flavors will have too reason to rejoice: cocktails like the Charon or the Sleeping Beauty are just what you need to visit the hereafter.
The chatter comes easily and the cocktails start to flow. Every once in a while you go down to the lower level, a tavern in perfect English style, only a little darker than the level above and with large shelves packed with lined bottles, to smoke a cigarette. Before you know it we look at the clock and it’s two o’clock. We all agree that we wish we could live in the same building, on one of the the higher floors, so we could come down every night to have a drink. In the meantime we will settle for the beautiful evening and ask for the bill. We’re going to give you some advice: do whatever you’ve gotta do, but you’ve gotta get that pass!