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The secret bar of Milan - Part II (1930)

Cocktail passion

The secret bar of Milan - Part II (1930)

Mila Bogi

…for a moment the door stayed still, held only by a man’s hand. Although my emotions made it difficult to focus, I did manage to enjoy the light, coming from the inside. It was dimmed light, romantic.

A massive ring with four numbers written on it was visible on the hand, but I could not read what the numbers were from where I was standing. In moments of such excitements, usually my heart goes up in my throat and I blush. Same thing happened back then, and I was also wondering if I ended up in a dream place and worried not to be able to solve the mystery of it.

After all, in a while the fairy tale continues, the door opened and a good-looking, elegant man with quite a long beard looked at me and asked while  holding the door:

-       Mila?

I nodded.

-       Welcome, your place at the bar is waiting for you.

I must have answered with a big and probably awkward smile because I blushed again,

I went towards the door and in this moment I did not know that I would end up in the place where I would meet some of my best friends in Italy. A place where I would also live through many personal realizations.

Right from the entry on the left, a piano welcomes you into the bar. Antique interior, comfortable armchairs and a sewing machine. Across from them - a beautiful sofa, in the corner – a roundtable for four.

You stop and you wonder which way the bar is, and the nice man leads you in the right direction passing the sofa and then the round table to make a right turn, because you do not dare make a wrong step in this carefully designed place. Everything is so exclusive that you want to find your own place. Making the right turn, the most romantic bar comes up in front of you that you have ever seen. Another nice Italian behind the counter. They give you a seat at the bar and welcome you with the widest smiles, now both of them are behind the counter and want to know all about you. You want to know all about them and this place, as well.

I did not know at the time how lucky I was to be welcomed into 1930 by both Benjamin and Marco behind the counter. They were virtuosos of the cocktails and conversations. Masters of integrating their newly invited friends in their exclusive society. Stories of excitement for the past and future were told. We were traveling across life together.

I soon asked them what this place was. A speakeasy bar for special people, where we would be given the opportunity to talk calmly and to get to know each other. For this reason, every seat on the bar had its own nameplate to strictly reserve the spot for one of their most loyal friends/clients. Everyone in the bar were wearing the special ring that I first saw on Ben’s hand (I still want to own one of those!). The numbers were 1930. The name of the bar.

I was looking at everything with the curiosity of a three year old child. The scales, the stands, Ben’s beard and Marco’s hair. I had a comment for everything and the ultimate desire to keep the vivid image of this night in my head. Then they gave me the menu. I really did not think it could have gotten any better, but it was a BOOK.

Yes, this is right, a BOOK. A story, romantic such. And a sequence, both in English and Italian. Speechless, my curiosity overtook me, I ordered an Old Fashioned, which impressed Marco for being not a feminine drink at all. I ignored him and said that I just wanted to watch his hands, while he was doing it. I enjoyed the magic dance of his hands, while he was telling me that his ex-girlfriend was Bulgarian and constantly was splashing out some words in my language.

I was home. Just home. His hands dancing, the orange peel licking the edge of the glass and after a moment the cocktail was already served. I took a sip from the most amazing Old Fashioned ever and started reading the book at the sound of jazzy swing.

It was a mysterious romantic story, written by Italian writer Michael Love. A man, who admired my red socks, when we met a year later. I spent half an hour through his pages, travelling around his secretive world, getting to know his characters, all of whom were based on MaG and 1930 owners and bartenders. Then I went downstairs to find the toilet, where another surprise was awaiting. I found an underground, designed for smoking cigars and where they kept their alcohol selection. Best of all, I found an antique typewriter.

 

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This is when I promised myself to tell this story in words one day.

My head gave birth to so many dreams, stories that I wanted to write and so many experiences that I yearned for. I felt like myself more than ever and I felt that new exciting emotions were coming for me.

My night was perfect, I went home around four in the morning, drunk and smiling so wide. This place became my incubator, in which I went to feed my hopes. A place where being idealistinc and romantic was not condemned. I understood this because as I left, being the last with Ben and Marco, I took a sneak peak in a small drawer under the sewing maching and for the last time this evening was surprised by what I found…

A LETTER.

Send me an email if you want to know what the letter said. 

*Photo credits to amazing Toney Fernandez

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