The Trap Door Tasting Room
by Illusion Brewery
creates magic into beers
Many of us are drawn into the world of magic, whether they be the pixie dust kind of Disney Fairies, the sorcery and witchcraft kind popularized by Harry Potter, the friendship kind of Equestria Girls, or the amazing and stupendous tricks of the Harry Houdini kind. That is because we all need a spark out of our mundane and dreary lives once in a while and get into an entirely different sub-world where we have powers, we can do amazing things, and just not be ourselves for once.
And that’s exactly what we can get at The Trap Door Tasting Room by Illusion Brewery. The Trap Door is the only speakeasy bar in Bacolod and probably, it’s safe to say that it’s the first in the Vis-Min area. I was told there are only two of this kind in Manila as well.
What is a Speakeasy Bar?
According to wikipedia, a speakeasy, which is also called a blind pig or blind tiger, is an “illicit” establishment that sells alcoholic beverages during the Prohibition era in the United States. This was from 1920 to 1933 and probably longer in some states. During that time, the sale, manufacture, and transportation of alcoholic beverages was illegal throughout the US and it was widely believed that these drinks caused people to go crazy. When the Prohibition ended, speakeasies disappeared and were replaced with more modern bars. Meanwhile, speakeasies nowadays refer to those bars with a retro theme.
Finding the Trap Door
The Trap Door is not your regular bar. For one, getting there is already an adventure in itself, something that made my heart palpitate because I went there on Hallow’s eve and most of the establishments are closed, hence the eerie darkness in the area. Located at 22nd-Lacson Streets, Bacolod City, you cannot easily find it. You have to go looking. And so I did.
My husband dropped me off at the corner of 22nd Street where Pizza Republic is located because he had to drive my mother in law to Robinsons. It was open but the Orange Karinderia behind it as well as the offices on the other side of the streets. I walked further and saw a parking lot with a single light coming from what seemed like a hole on one side of the wall. It was really dark and since I was early, there were not many cars in the area. I walked a bit further and if not for the flowers with a stand I would not have guessed where The Trap Door was.
Out of a wide wall of concrete building, you can only find a single door. But when you get to it, you will know that it’s The Trap Door because of the Ace of Spades design on it. The adventure of finding it got me exhilarated because I was alone and it was dark and it was Hallow’s eve. And going inside felt like diving into an adventure in another world.
A Magical World
The Trap Door is a magical world, literally and figuratively. For starters, the name itself is a famous magic trick. And when you open that door, it is an entirely different story. The speakeasy is the product of the creative imaginations of five friends, namely, JM Padilla, Paolo Sanson, Leizl Gaston, Ignacio “Jiggs” Santiago, and Jose Luis Santiago. Jiggs, along with JM who are called the master brewers, has always been captivated with the world of magic. He closely followed the greatest magicians of all time, studied their tricks, practiced them at home and entertained his friends with them. He says that he knows more about the history of magic than any other kind.
It is no wonder then that they don’t want just a regular looking bar–it has to be MAGICAL. It is no wonder then that they came up with a magic and illusion themed speakeasy bar. And the effect is just wonderful.
Dimly lit, the bar’s walls are lined up with faux shelves filled with hardbound books to recreate an old library that is the setting of many portals to magical worlds in movies. The vintage wall lamps add to the Old World charm. On one side are two big frames of where photos or drawings of famous magicians are hanged.
While the place is quiet small, they made good use of it without sacrificing the theme. The swinging door to the kitchen is camouflaged by the design of an old clock while the rest room is behind a hidden door that feels very much like a spy door in French castles.
And oh, you can also request the servers to perform some magic tricks for you. That is part of The Trap Door Experience.
Craft Beers by Illusion Brewery
But the magical venue and experience that The Trap Door brings may as well be just the icing on the cake. What will make people come back are their many craft beers brewed by Jiggs and JM. On a regular day, they have four kinds of craft beers on draft plus many other bottled ones. But since they brew in small batches (which they had been doing for two years now), you are not guaranteed that you will have the same kind the next visit.
Craft beers start at P180 per 330ml serving. Aside from making them in small batches, Illusion Brewery uses only the best ingredients, with hops imported from Belgium. So this is not the usual beer that you can just easily buy in your nearest convenience store. These beers are of premium kind, carefully crafted and brewed to perfection. They are also aged properly so you only get the best, smooth, and high quality beers with different flavors and tones. You can always ask the servers to recommend the best beer for you or the food you ordered. Or you may request them to provide you with a beer sampler so you can choose what you want.
In my case, since I am not a beer drinker really, I appreciated the High Gravity (HGS) as well as the shandy. Although the shandy tastes so good, make no mistake of guzzling it because you can easily get dizzy.
Food at The Trap Door
The Trap Door serves meals and appetizers that are best paired with their beers. They had a consultant from Manila who designed their menu for them. I already sampled their food but I have yet to take photos of their meals. So stay tuned for updates.