Shrouded in secrecy since its opening, Gaslamp speakeasy Room 56 is hidden deep inside the Moxy San Diego. Accessed through the lobby’s mezzanine library, the bar lies beyond a bookcase; after making reservations via a mysterious webpage (text the code word to the number displayed) guests select a specific red book off the wall and will be greeted by a host, the “librarian”, and led down a winding staircase to an intimate and darkened 24-seat cocktail den.
Named in homage to our founding fathers and the 56 signers of the Declaration of Independence, Room 56 is uninterested in being trendy, says Tim Billing, area manager of Azul Hospitality Group, one of the property’s partners. Its aim is simply to create a sophisticated and elegant experience with elements of intrigue for both hotel patrons and locals. “Bar arbiter” Valerie Bancroft (The Nolen) says her cocktail menu is designed to be timeless and classic, highlighting drinks that take a little extra care to build; the list includes the Common Bawd made with cream of coconut, lime, mint, Fresno chili pepper, and St. George Botanivore Gin and the Martha Mary Mercy, a twice-shaken sour with St. George All Purpose Vodka, blackberry, lemon, and vanilla orgeat. The bar also offers a limited food menu of six shared items, including scallop crudo, beef carpaccio, and shrimp cocktail, that rotates daily.
Open Wednesday through Saturday from 6 p.m. to 2 a.m., Room 56 feature live saxophone on Thursdays from 8 p.m. to midnight.