May 11, 2018
Husband-and-wife team Mike Soldner and Grace Chang caused quite the stir when they opened B28 in Singapore back in 2011: the formula of an intimate but contemporary basement bar with outstanding whiskies, great cocktails, black & white movies and live jazz was pretty darn revolutionary in those thar days. In March 2013, they exported that winning formula to Seoul’s tony Cheongdam district – and even found a basement (although, sadly, not a basement numbered 28 like the one in Singapore). B28 might not have the city’s largest whisky selection, but it is one of the most curated, with a particular focus on intense, cask-strength whiskies, including samples from distilleries that no longer exist. Cocktails are serious here, too: the team were some of the first to barrel-age cocktails in Seoul, although their extensive and curated list of classic cocktails includes two pages of “Sours” with something to please most palates. Between live jazz each Friday and regular whisky tastings, there’s usually something going down at B28, and it’s usually something good. B28 doesn’t brand itself as a speakeasy, but the signage is discreet, and the interior, a welter of hand-blown glass chandeliers, eclectic gentleman’s club leather, exposed brickwork and suave lighting, maintains that upscale vibe. Only a smidgen larger than its Singapore sibling, B28 has a capacity of only 35. It pays to come early at weekends, and reserve well, well in advance for Friday jazz nights and other regular special events.