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'Secret' city bar with an air of intrigue

The Forager

Concealed behind a secret door down a city stairwell, this new Adelaide bar is not easy to find or enter – and that’s part of its appeal.

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The Barlow Room is located in the basement of the historic Barlow Buildings on Rundle Mall beneath Lindes Lane, the wine bar and café opened just over 12 months ago by designer Jason Jurecky, coffee baron Ian Callahan (Bar 9) and sommelier Wes Gilson (Cork Wine bar).

“I’ve always wanted to do a secret bar,” says Jurecky, whose design projects also include Cork Wine, Bar 9 Central and One Planet cellar door.

“And I love hidden doors; the bookshelf is the classic idea.”

The Barlow Room is accessed only from Lindes Lane via a flight of stairs, beneath the restaurant, inside a space which Jurecky has decked out as a “French underground”-style bar with a secret entrance.

“My thing was always that if you’re going through a secret door then you should feel like you’re going somewhere else in the world,” says Jurecky.

“We’ve been holding functions down there for the past year – weddings, parties, corporate events. People panic when they see the fireplace because it’s not what they expect; it takes them a while to work out that it’s actually the entrance to the Barlow Room.”

The trio has now made the Barlow Room public, opening on Friday and Saturday nights offering live jazz, cabaret, old-fashioned cocktails, cheese platters and tapas.

“We’ve hunted down some lovely old crystal-ware and mis-matched glasses to serve drinks in and on the weekend we picked up a 1920s German piano,” says Jurecky. “It has an amazing, real deep sound to it. On our opening night a friend, Ben Timms, will play a couple of sets including some blues, funk and classical.”


Jason Jurecky slips behind the entrance to the Barlow Room. Photo: Andre Castellucci

The fireplace was reclaimed from a house that Jurecky recently renovated.

“It adds a bit of mystery and intrigue to have to try to discover how to open it,” he says.

“It may be a bit difficult to work out at first, but then you feel a little bit smarter and cooler than your friends. It’s a journey.”

The Barlow Room will hold a ticketed launch party on Saturday, June 18, at 6pm before it opening to the public from 9pm. Tickets are $50 per person including drinks, food and entertainment. Bookings can be made here.



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