May 11, 2018
Put aside all thoughts of country cottage gardens with tall blossoms blooming. This classic Cheongdam speakeasy is not named for anything so twee as an English country flower, but for Arsène Lupin, the 20th-century gentleman thief created by Maurice LeBlanc, who’s virtually France’s answer to Sherlock Holmes (he even does jujitsu!). It’s Arsène’s dramatic silhouette, complete with top hat, cape, swag bag and, umm, Martini, that marks the darkened entrance to this stylish drinkery in Gangnam’s swish Apgujeong fashion zone. Bar maestro Ssami Choi oversees proceedings in the elegant and relatively spacious interior, sliding lovingly tended whiskies or cocktails crafted with hand-chiselled ice across the marble bar. Between all that black leather, polished wood and marble, not to mention the slick selection of 250-ish whiskies – not to mention 40-odd gins – Bar Lupin really is quite the mancave, with a feel you’ll recognise from your favourite old-school Tokyo whisky bar. Whether you’re after classic cocktails or to improve your appreciation of whisky or gin, Bar Lupin is the prefect spot to round off a hard day’s shopping or gear up for a long night’s bar-hopping to the accompaniment of smooth, sweet jazz. And, while you don’t need any cat-burgling skills to access this cool but not-terribly-hidden space, we’re sure Arsène, a man who appreciated the finer things in life, would find plenty to covet in the speakeasy that bears his name. Or, as they might say in France, Vive la Seoul!