Harking back to the prohibition, ‘bootlegging’ days, an Albury venue has defied the contemporary trends of modern bars and gone old school, with the added intrigue of simply trying to find the place.
Duke’s Hidden Secret is owned by Shannon Barber, who also runs Barrafino Bar in Dean Street, with the new upstairs bar accessed via a back laneway.
“It’s a play on the speakeasy concept – the prohibition days where bootlegging was the go and it was illegal to run a bar, so nobody knew about it,” Shannon said.
“You had to be invited and told by someone you trusted how to get to the place, so it’s just a bit of a fun play on that concept.”
Shannon is also determined to recapture some of the old school values that he believes is missing.
“Being in the hotel industry for over 15 years, I’m seeing that a lot of the values are getting lost,” he said.
“I think we’ve lost a lot of empathy when people go out and drink, and I want to bring a bit of that back in vogue with a nice little bar where you can come and be yourself, not be judged, or ridiculed and have a safe drink.
“It’s a place where people can come out earlier, listen to some music, have some food and contemporary drinks and be home by midnight or 1.00am so you can still get up to the kids in the morning and function.”
Shannon didn’t have to go far to draw inspiration in naming the bar.
“The Duke is my grandfather, and once again, he just encapsulates old beliefs, chivalry and honest cheek. For example, he used to call his wife, my grandmother, Madam.”
There’s no modern furniture, or squeaky clean décor, but that’s all part of the charm, as well as the secretive nature of trying to find the bar.
“I’m getting a lot of Facebook messages saying, ‘Where are you? I’ve been looking around for half an hour’, Shannon said.
“Playing on that ‘secretive bar’, people get intrigued, with the thrill of the hunt to finally find it and have bragging rights.”
For more information on Duke’s Hidden Bar, visit their Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/dukeshiddensecret/