I love a good secret bar. I first fell in love with them while living in Manila. Every must go spot to spend the evening was behind an exit door of a wine shop or your run of the mill office building.
Secrets are hidden all over south east Asia, and especially in emerging Myanmar. Being stuck in an office, and even worse, a cubicle, I was having having trouble getting inspired by this enormous secret of a city. Friends had wondered why I hadn’t posted more about the place. I was having trouble finding the time to explore. But little did I know that today’s post was right beneath my feet.
When my Airbnb host mentioned the speakeasy tucked away in our building, I knew I had to make a stop. So after sitting in traffic for what seemed like eons, while a steady drizzle came down, I finally made it home, grabbed my camera and headed straight down to the Blind Tiger. In the unassumingly trendy Yaw Min Gyi neighbourhood in downtown Yangon, there’s a little apartment building at the corner of Nawaday Street and Alan Pya Pagoda Street. Head down the little corridor of a seemingly Myanmar residential building and you’ll see the glowing cartoon of a tiger beckoning you in.
And inside is exactly what you would find a speakeasy in Yangon to look like. Its design sits halfway between a place Al Capone or a brilliant Myanmar democratic mind would sit, cradling his or her beverage, thinking thoughts of plans and stealth; and a place where a bunch of Shoreditch cultivated hip young things would bring vintage tufted leather sofas and ambient lighting.
The drinks are locally inspired. The food, both in tapas that are affectionate to groups and hungry friendly large plates, are delicious. The fact that there is a Happy Hour makes it even better. And the tiny global community that is southeast Asia only means that while I was wandering around taking photos, my pal (and local fixer!) Laura would be shouting out my name from the loft above. I couldn’t think of a better place to free myself from the cubicle on a rainy and gray monsoony Yangon Wednesday.
The Blind Tiger is located in United Condo, unit 1-11, at No. 2 Nawaday Street, at the corner of Alan Pya Pagoda Street. Open 7 days a week, noon till late.
Photos by Tiffany Tsang. Please request permission for use.
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