After observing that diners prefer having a dynamic experience where they like staying beyond dinner and dessert at a fine dining destination, restaurateurs Ryan Snr and Hitesh Keswani decided to bring that concept to the city of Mumbai. If you’ve visited the Japanese restaurant Akina in Bandra, you’re probably familiar with the mystery it creates with its plain white facade. Push the door open and you’re introduced to a glamorous space with red, black and gold interiors that offers soul-satisfying food and well-crafted cocktails. But now, Akina wants you to extend your stay–not at the restaurant but in a more private, intimate and luxurious set-up for a late-night lounge experience. Say hello to Privé by Akina, an exquisite underground speakeasy bar which allows you to enjoy a space away from the outside world.
“There’s a whole global trend behind a high-end restaurant having a little late-night lounge experience within the space,” Ryan shares. “The customer journey should not only begin with having a meal at the restaurant and ending it with desserts. Some people want a dynamic, 360-degree experience where they may want to stay and have a drink and extend that to a late-night lounge experience, accompanied by beautiful music, world-class service, great cocktails, and more importantly, the surroundings and the people that are around. People love and appreciate hanging out in spaces where they feel a sense of community, belongingness and togetherness. They want something special and unique that others can’t have. And that’s why we decided to take it one notch higher where you can continue that whole experience in a private room among a few select people. That’s how the idea of Privé was born,” he adds.
The Idea Behind Calling It A Speakeasy Bar
Traditionally, speakeasy bars cropped up in the 1920s during the Prohibition era in the USA. At that time, the manufacture, sale and transport of alcohol were illegal in the U.S. and speakeasies served as underground, secret establishments where Americans could meet and have conversations over drinks. Of course, it was illegal back then but it created a thrill factor with its clandestine nature.
Fast forward to today, alcohol is readily available. What you have today are modern speakeasy bars that only borrow the element of secrecy and exclusivity. And Prive builds on that. “It’s not an obvious door in front of a straight or in front of a hotel lobby. If you don’t know how to get to Prive, you want to know that the door exists. That was the whole concept behind calling it a speakeasy experience. And once you come in, our service makes it a lot more personal and glorious, which people appreciate.”
An Ornate Ambiance
Keeping the element of mystery alive, a short staircase going downwards in Akina leads you to Privé. The door sees handcrafted gold serpent handles made in Italy. But the real magic lies inside. Step inside and you’re greeted with beguiling decor enveloped in midnight blue velvet and suede seating along with dim lighting to set the evening mood. The ceiling with a ripple-like pattern along with crystal decor makes the interiors shine but it’s subtle and doesn’t hurt the eye. And that’s what I personally liked about Prive.
The snake theme continues with a print on the carpet and a snakeskin print on the seating. “The whole serpent aesthetic represents transformation. As you come in, you can transform yourself and get disconnected from the outside world into this glorious space. The other representation is a mystery. So, because it’s such a mysterious, secretive space, it represents well with the serpent,” Ryan explains.
You’ll also like the music ranging from a mix of down-tempo up-tempo jazz, disco and house to tunes that are played on the radio as well. It’s safe to say that Prive fulfils everyone’s musical needs.
Food & Drinks
As you elegantly perch at the cosy and magnificent cocktail bar, watch your host create delectable cocktails with effortless style. Some of my favourites include the Pisco cocktail Ichigo Ichie, the Japanese-themed Smoked Matcha and a dessert cocktail Oh-Mi-So.
Pair your drinks with indulgent Japanese tapas and small bites on the menu. I devoured the Chicken taquitos (with taco shells made from seaweed), Yakitori Tokyo Wings, Truffle Rock Shrimp Roll and the decadent dessert, Matcha Tres Leches that brought all the theatrics and made my experience an unforgettable one.
Privé by Akina has limited seating capacity as it wants to maintain privacy for its patrons. You can also choose to book the space in advance for private parties.
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For reservations, contact:
Address: Akina, Golden Palace, Turner Rd, opposite Mala Sinha Bungalow, Bandra West, Mumbai, Maharashtra 400050