FLASK is a bar located in Shanghai owned by bourbon enthusiasts Kevin Yu and Jackson Cheng, two Taiwanese entrepreneurs who pride themselves not only on their creative offering of cocktails but also a vast selection of fine bourbon. But if there is something that Shanghai isn’t exactly in shortage of, it’s bars. FLASK, however, is one of the more unusual spots in the city. It’s hidden in a shop called The Press, a small place that sells gourmet grilled cheese sandwiches. Both FLASK and The Press were designed by Alberto Caiola, whose concept for these two spaces explores the nature of duality: the juxtaposition of light and darkness.
FLASK是一家在上海的酒吧，由两个波本威士忌发烧友Kevin Yu和Jackson Cheng创立。这两位台湾创始人以提供用心调制的鸡尾酒及种类繁多的各式高级波本为傲。如果说上海绝对不缺的东西，那一定就是酒吧了。而FLASK则是城中别具一格的几家酒吧之一，它藏匿在一家名为The Press的美味芝士三明治店中。FLASK以及The Press的店内设计皆是出于Alberto Caiola之手，他为这两个空间所做的创作源于二元对立，明暗共存的概念。
During the daytime, The Press operates as a sandwich shop – a minimalist space with unfinished cement walls and a colorful counter erected in the middle of the store. Behind the counter, a blue neon-lit sign that reads “Get Your Hands Dirty” is hung on the wall, and a vintage Coca-Cola machine is nestled in the corner of the room. The Press provides reimagined versions of classic American grilled cheese sandwiches, with gourmet creations such as their signature FLASK Melt. For this mouthwatering concoction, aged yellow cheddar, white cheddar, gouda cheese, and bourbon-honey glazed bacon serves as the centrepiece, while artisanal white toast acts as the frame. As it gets later and later into the night, passers-by will notice there is no longer any staff manning the shop, yet curiously enough, it still appears open for business.
白昼时分，The Press是一家售卖三明治的店铺，其极简的空间中有着斑驳水泥墙和矗立店中央的炫彩吧。柜台后面，墙上挂有“Get Your Hands Dirty”字样的蓝色霓虹灯牌，墙角是复古的可口可乐自动贩售机。The Press除了售卖改良版的经典美国烤芝士三明治之外，也会自制创意美食，比如他们的招牌菜FLASK Melt：以白吐司配裹陈年车达芝士、白芝士、豪达芝士再搭配令人垂涎的蜜糖波本的培根。当日光渐褪，人们会发现餐厅内是没有任何员工，但令人好奇的是它又看似还在营业。
That’s because the adjoining speakeasy, FLASK, has been covertly serving drinks and will continue dealing out boozy treats late into the night. Those unfamiliar with FLASK might never know it is even there. The concealed entrance is located behind the retro Coke machine inside The Press. This faux vending machine swings open to reveal a secret tunnel that leads into this mysterious speakeasy. Once inside, patrons will find themselves in a dimly lit bar, purposely designed to clash modern elements against a vintage setting. Decorative liquor bottles adorn the shelves, mysterious cubes of varying sizes float overhead, and furniture that feels like they came straight from the prohibition era fills the room.
Whisky bars in Shanghai generally focus on single malt whiskies, while FLASK, in true speakeasy style, decided instead to place most of their focus on bourbon and rye whiskies. “Many of the prohibition classics or signature drinks were made from bootleg liquor that was available at that time, which often were bourbon and rye, and sometimes gin,” says Kevin, “This is another reason why FLASK likes to focus on American bourbon and rye whiskey. These drinks speak the same language that strengthen the speakeasy concept. We want to educate people in Shanghai that bourbon and rye can be pleasant, smooth and full of character – just like single malt whisky.”
Besides the impressive bourbon collection at FLASK, their cocktails are also strong contenders in the Shanghai bar scene. All of their cocktails can be custom-made to fit the individual’s flavor profile, and all of their signature cocktails on the menu also feature local and Asian ingredients while still preserving the original recipes of the prohibition era classics.
Kevin and Jackson wanted to provide a unique experience for all those that comes to their bar through the atmosphere, the friendly staff, and the quality of the drink selection. With FLASK and The Press, the pair wanted to inject more creativity into Shanghai’s food and beverage industry, and they have hinted at new plans of rolling out other creative projects in the near future.