Escape to Fort Lauderdale’s Hyatt Centric Las Olas for an unexpected speakeasy experience featuring an evolving bartender-in-residence program that invites bars from around the country (many of which are closed as a result of the pandemic) to host pop-up activations that keep their bars top of mind and offer them all the perks of a South Florida vacation and time back behind the stick.
An idea born during the pandemic when hotels were facing abnormally low occupancy rates, Room 901 is a guest room turned secret speakeasy where talented bartenders are given the chance to be in the limelight again — while being provided airfare, room and board, and the chance to make hourly wages and tips from patrons visiting the bar.
In early March, famed Washington D.C. speakeasy, The Gibson, brought a few of its signature cocktails as well as some South Florida themed libations for a two week pop up that sold out almost instantly.
Up next behind the bar is Miami’s Giovanny Gutierrez, aka Chat Chow, who will be taking residence from March 30th to April 1st and converting 901 in a bespoke Rum Room. Sugarcane lovers will have the opportunity to imbibe on elevated classic rum cocktails, with a twist. Menu highlights to include the Pepe Colada a clarified, stirred piña colada served neat with Havana Club rum; Not A Rum & Coke with house-made cola syrup, bubbles, and Santa Teresa Rum; and Gutierrez’s favorite, the classic Cuban El Presidente — except this one is barrel-aged in new American oak.
Those who crave old school elegant cocktails (hello, martinis) and dive bar vibes will be delighted to discover Unfiltered Hospitality, a consulting company by Miami bar veterans Ben Potts (Beaker & Gray and The Sylvester) and Gui Jaroschy (formerly of Broken Shaker), will be donning vintage peach-colored tuxedos and taking over for a short stint on April 2nd and 3rd aptly named “Semi-Formal.” The menu will feature the skilled bartenders making perfect classic cocktails served in a distinctly outdated style (think bright red cherries or one olive on a skinny pick, etc) pairing each with a bar snack. Cocktails include the OG Turf Cocktail with dry gin, French vermouth, kushy orange bitters, and absinthe; Caramelized Onion Boulevardier with bourbon, Campari, sweet vermouth, and a caramelized onion; and the Champagne Cocktail made with pear cognac, herby bitters, champagne, and cocktail cologne.
In mid-April Midnight Cowboy from Austin will be calling 901 home, followed by Red Booth out of Atlanta in May, and plans of Los Angeles’ Adult’s Only soon to come. Check the calendar often as you never know who might be making an appearance at the exclusive speakeasy.
While each bar popping up brings its own cocktail menu and theme, the room’s decor throws it back to the roaring 1920’s with bookshelves lined with vintage titles, a record player, plush velvet furniture, inspired playlists, antique artifacts and artwork. Of course there’s a food menu to help soak up the boozy beverages. The hotel’s executive chef, Greg McGowan, has created a few dishes that add an extra touch of indulgence to the experience. These items include mini Connecticut-style lobster rolls; roasted bone marrow with spicy pickled vegetables, peach, and mango; and house fried potato chips tossed in duck fat and served with truffle crème fraiche.
Entry into Room 901 is available via required reservation for up to six guests at a time. In order to keep everyone safe and socially distant there are a few rules — such as no mingling with guests outside your party and temperature checks for all visitors. There is a food & beverage minimum of $50 per person, with a one-hour minimum for 1-2 guests and a two-hour minimum for 3-6 guests. Once a reservation is made, guests will receive a secret password that must be shared at the hotel’s front desk upon arrival in order to get the coveted unmarked key that will allow entry into the speakeasy. Head up the elevator (it’s by the champagne vending machine) and look for the red light next to an unmarked door at the end of the hallway on the hotel’s 9th floor. Knock twice to find out if you’re in the right place. To book, guests can email [email protected] or visit their website.