Nippon is the first speakeasy bar in Dubai, inspired by Japanese nightlife. Nippon is more than just a bar. It’s a speakeasy concept that can be experienced on all kinds of levels, from social media to secret gateways in a hotel to sipping Japanese whiskey under subtle neon lights.
Creneau created, designed and developed it every step of the way, adding a new secret ingredient to the rich blend that is Dubai nightlife. In prohibition times, when alcohol was outlawed by the American authorities, a new kind of bar flourished in the darker corners of urban nightlife. These secret bars were called ‘speakeasies’. They were hidden places, built behind recreational rooms or private residencies. If you wanted to nd out where they were, someone had to tell you.
Although there’s no ban on alcohol in Dubai, Creneau decided to play around with the idea of a secret location and created a bar that is hidden behind a bookcase of the Dusit Thani hotel. There is no mention of the bar anywhere on the hotel’s website or other communication.
There was a hashtag (#ShhDubia). And there was word-of-mouth, of course. Even if you discovered the space behind the bookcase, you still had to make your way past a mirrored room, pressing the right mirrors to gain entrance to the actual bar. Of course, if we’re making people go through this kind of trouble to get a drink, we had to make sure the actual experience was surprising and rewarding in itself.
That’s why we designed the space with Japanese street culture in mind, using neon lights to create an atmosphere buzzing with promise and a drinks lists referring to Samurai culture, focusing on Japanese whiskey. Nippon is a rich blend of cultures, secrets and conceptual quirks: a unique addition to Dubai nightlife.