May 11, 2018
Surfing the waves of malt whisky love and secret bar frenzy in Seoul, this Hannam-Dong favourite stays so true to its speakeasy ethos that the bartender will give you a once-over through the peephole before he opens the door. In fact, there’s a definite old mafia feel to this place – and we’re not just saying that because charismatic but crazyass owner Rocky has been known to wave an unloaded submachine gun around. House rules, in the vein of the original Milk & Honey, ban dancing, Wifi, selfies (or any pictures at all) and, of course, singing, dancing, or offerings to Seoul’s karaoke demons. Speakeasy Mortar is an intimate spot, its walls lined with the amber nectar: there’s an impressive 300-odd whiskies on the menu, many Scotch, some American, some Irish, but with Japanese and even Taiwanese offers too. You don’t have to drink whisky at Speakeasy Mortar, of course. The bartenders here know their stuff – in fact, you’ll find many off-duty bartenders propping up the bar early in the week – and lovers of classic cocktails will find plenty to whet their palates in their selection of drinks, all lovingly hand-crafted from the finest ingredients. If you’re new in town, and love your whisky, rock up earlier in the evening to be guaranteed admission. Despite the name, only the owner carries weapons in here – and that very rarely indeed, we’re assured – and it’s only a short stumble from the nearest Coffee Bar K if you feel the need to continue your night elsewhere.