In the heart of Adelaide, you might be lucky enough to find a small laneway with a stairwell leading off of it, heading underground. Although many would assume the stairwell is simply an abandoned, insignificant part of Adelaide, some curious minds may proceed down the thin passage. The stairs unfortunately appear to lead to a simple stand-alone fireplace - a dead end.
But.. that is only for the untrained eye.
In fact, this fireplace that lies levels under the bustle of Rundle Mall is the entrance to a whole new location. A secret location. It's called The Barlow Room.
Through word of mouth, I heard about the hidden room and my adventurous mind drove me to check it out for myself. The rumours were true - there really is a secret venue sneaked away from the hundreds of people that flock the city every day. The 'fireplace' is actually a door that can be pulled open to reveal a cosy and relaxed lounge-style setup. The Barlow Room serves as a bar and a venue for friends and groups to hang out while getting away from the city craze.
Although very small, The Barlow Room has been well designed to encapsulate a casual, homelike vibe. There is a bar for drink purchases and a number of antique lounges to rest and relax with friends. The dim lighting and tawny coloured furniture adds to the feeling that you are underground and hidden from the world.
The drinks menu has a variety of imported wines as well as local favourites. Most who head to the Barlow tend to enjoy a cocktail made by one of the skilled bartenders. Some of the drinks are priced high (upward of $22 for a cocktail) but they are made generously and tastefully.
The Barlow Room is only open Friday and Saturday nights from 5pm-2am. Despite being tempted, it is only fair that the exact address of the mysterious bar is left a secret. Perhaps you can head out one weekend on a dedicated quest in attempt to discover the place. There is no doubt that the venture will be exciting and rewarding once you locate the mellow bar.
I had planned to conclude this review by stating there is nowhere else like this in Adelaide. But, I realised that that is quite uncertain. How many secret bars are there that we don't know about?