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Himitsu Japanese speakeasy bar at Potsdamer Platz

Wednesday, March 20 2024
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Opening Times

Thursday to Saturday 20-2

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HIMITSU Speakeasy Bar
Alte Potsdamer Straße 7
im Manifesto am Potsdamer Platz
10785 Berlin-Tiergarten
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.www.manifestomarket.com

Before you can uncover its secret, you first have to find the high-end bar Himitsu at Manifesto on Potsdamer Platz. With carefully curated highballs, cocktail classics, sake and whisky, the small, Japanese-inspired Himitsu is Berlin's most secret bar.

Diego Aspra's hand, adorned with distinctive silver rings, presses the stamp into the large ice cube with firm pressure. "This is Ooni, a Japanese demon," he explains the ruthless-looking likeness of the mythological fiend. He then grabs a long spoon and dips it into a "kame", a traditional clay vessel imported exclusively from Okinawa.

"The flavors of the cocktails that we prepare in it constantly mature and subtly round off over time," the bar manager reveals one of the place's secrets, which is currently probably the biggest secret in Berlin bar culture. Nomen est omen: Himitsu means "secret" in Japanese, and that starts with the location.

A door is a door. You just have to recognize it as such. On the side under the stairs of the Manifesto food court at Potsamer Platz, on a narrow shelf with Japanese magazines, there it is - the door to the Speak Easy Bar. Next to it is a reddish-brown bench, and behind it, well hidden, is a doorbell.

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The smart guy with a black ponytail and earrings, Diego Aspra, is both bartender and door opener. He pushes aside the heavy curtain, and you are already standing in the small, secret Himitsu Bar, which opened in December.

Five seats at the bar, another 20 at six round tables on dark red velvet sofas and golden yellow and black chairs. Dim lighting, black music, audible enough to set the mood, quiet enough for table conversations. A cosmos of its own, a time zone of its own, wonderfully mysterious.

Himitsu is not a Japanese bar but a Japanese-inspired one. A place for Japanese cocktail culture, and that means respectful enjoyment. Respect for every detail, every ingredient, every highball. The menu of the well-attended yet relaxed, high-end bar is carefully curated.

The menu includes Mitzuwari, the traditional whiskey and water drink, classic cocktails such as Negroni or Old Fashioned with a twist: Yomogi liqueur (Japanese mugwort) in the former, Kokuto, brown sugar from Okinawa in the latter. Sake and Japanese whiskeys, such as the light yellow Sunday's X Araside, are only available in Himitsu in this country.

The "Kyoto x Pandan" is also great: slightly lighter than the whisky, significantly reduced with a pandan leaf, a palm leaf that creates a vanilla-caramel coating on the palate with bourbon, matcha, kaffir lime leaves and clarified oat milk. It is not intrusive; on the contrary, it is subtle, harmonious, and incredibly complex.

The bar can only be visited by prior reservation. It is open Thursdays to Saturdays from 8 pm to 2 am. Like a magician, Diego doesn't really let you look at his cards during his mixology show behind the bar. However, he does hint at something new that is still lying dormant and will soon appear in the Himitsu microcosm: a secret cocktail menu.

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Himitsu – Japanese speakeasy bar at Potsdamer Platz
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