Akai serves Japanese cocktails, sake, and wine. And plenty of mystery. (Courtesy of Akai)
"Akai" means red in Japanese. Courtesy of Akai
The decor at Akai includes a painting of samurais. Courtesy of Akai
The Botanical cocktail at Akai.
A new hidden bar, Akai, has revealed itself in the Dallas Arts District. To get there, you must roam through a secret passageway, located in Asian fusion restaurant Musume’s kitchen. In order to make a reservation, you text a secret word to a number that can be found on its Facebook page.
It’s all very mysterious, as a speakeasy should be.
I showed up at Musume on a Friday evening for dinner and drinks. I didn’t know about the text message reservation yet, but as soon as I asked the hostess about Akai, she immediately told my friend and I what to do to reserve our spot. Someone from the restaurant even escorted us to the bouncer of the bar after we had finished up our sushi, dim sum, lamb lollipops and sweet potato tempura.
The bouncer, looking very official in a suit and headset, proceeded to walk us back through the kitchen, where cooks were busy cooking and waiters were asking where their miso green beans were. He then took us through another door, where we turned right, and then a left.
The windy and mysterious route finally ended when we approached the darkly lit, red and black entrance of Akai. We were then seated at our own reserved table. I have to admit, I felt pretty cool.
Sitting down and sipping on Japanese-inspired cocktails, surrounded by art depicting samurais and dim red lighting, made it feel like I had been transported to some underground bar in Los Angeles. It felt scandalous to be in there, which was part of the fun.
When it came time to order drinks, I tried the Botanical. It’s a combination of Grey Goose, Combier Pamplemousse Rose Liqueur, hibiscus reduction, fresh lime juice, carbonated soda water and gyposphila (which I’m guessing was the crazy pink flower arrangement sticking out of my glass). It was light and refreshing, but about halfway through my drink I had to remove the imposing flora.
Other cocktails on the menu include the Akai, which has Japanese whisky, carbonated soda water, lemon flame and lemon. My friend said it tasted like vanilla cake. Precious Jade is a vodka-based drink with cucumber and Watasumi has gin, St. George spiced pear liqueur, lemon juice, prickly pear juice and egg white.
Akai is open Thursdays through Sundays from 8 pm to 2 am. According to Musume’s Instagram, dinner at Musume is required to enter Akai. If you dare.