If poking around and finding intriguing, unmarked doors to open is your kind of thing, you could be in for a pleasant surprise in the city.
With only a mysterious set of coordinates outlining its location (somewhere in Civic) and a single red velvet rope out the front – you could be forgiven for missing Canberra's newest bar, Molly.
The bar opened in late February, and its owners Antony Arena, Lorenzo Focarile and Dean Brown have created a speakeasy steeped in nostalgia.
Once you actually find the door, walk down the bare staircase into the basement, and swing open the heavy second door – you're met with a bar straight out of the 1920s.
“We wanted everything to be as authentic as possible,” says Arena.
“You won't even see any technology in Molly. All the point of sale is hidden – we tried to hide as much as possible to add to the authenticity.”
Already a big fan of the emerging range of speakeasies in Sydney, the trio was keen to open one in Canberra, and it all hinged on finding the right location. Focarile searched the city on foot, looking for quirky basements, and eventually found one that fit the bill.
“The second we walked down in there, I kind of had some sort of vision – I could see exactly how the place was going to work. So we jumped on it right away,” says Arena.
With no advertising, promotions or even a sign on the door, the owners are letting the venue itself do the talking.
The giant bar offers up an extensive wall of spirits, with Arena labelling the bar menu as an 'ongoing beast'.
“There's a leniency towards whisky and high quality everything. We've also got really nice vodka and gins,” he says.
The drinks menu focuses on classic cocktails with predominantly whisky and rum-based creations. The bartenders are also happy to freestyle and make whatever patrons fancy.
The piece de resistance is the delicatessen. Hidden away in the corner, the charcuterie station offers platters of freshly sliced cured meats, teamed with local in-season fruits and nuts. The simple menu includes Italian, French and Dutch plates.
“In a previous life, Lorenzo ran a fruit shop and deli, so he's got great contacts,” says Arena.
“We're not led by the food - it's purely complementary to having a nice drink. We want to keep it simple but high quality.”
Fittingly, the bar's namesake, Molly Pitcher, is believed to have been an aggressive fighter during the American Revolution. When prohibition started in New York, one of the most common speakeasies was the Molly Pitcher Club, and folklore says that women from the time who were anti-prohibition would all sign their names as Molly Pitcher.
One of the most intriguing aspects of Molly is the hidden bank vault – filled with 65 copper cabinets, each of which is for sale. Once you're the owner of one of the cabinets and have one of the brass keys in your hand, you can buy or order in high end spirits and wine, and they will be stored for you in the vault and brought out whenever you return.
There are a few other nooks and crannies in Molly, but you'll have to go exploring yourself to find out what's behind the doors.
So go have a drink with Molly – if you can find her that is.