May 11, 2018
Cocktail geeks the world over rejoiced when two of Korea’s finest bartenders teamed up to open this slick affair in 2014, then brought in Park Sung-min, another of the nation’s very best, to manage the place so they could shake up their stormy magic behind the bar. And Lim Jae-jin and Eom Do-hwan’s Cheongdam hotspot has won bags of accolades since then. Le Chamber is a speakeasy, natch, and a thoroughly classic speakeasy as that. To access the welter of exposed brickwork, high ceilings, floaty drapes, chandeliers and glass you’ll need to proceed through a retro Victorian library room and pick the right book from the shelf on the wall – but don’t be shy, on busy nights you’ll find a doorman ready to help. No Seoul speakeasy would be complete without a brain-aching list of whiskies, and Le Chamber duly offers 200-odd, as well as a bottle storage facility for their most elite patrons. Yet the route to go down here is classic, or, rather, tweaked classic, for the chaps use a restrained hand in adapting and updating classic mixes to the modern world. They make their own ginger beer for Dark ‘n’ Stormies and the Moscow Mule, they barrel-age cocktails in cute little casks behind the bar, and every two months they select a new cocktail to compete over, whipping up their individual takes on a classic and asking guests to select their favourite. Le Chamber draws a cool crowd, with plenty of off-duty bartenders on quiet nights.