Imagine if there was a bar so exclusive and special that you couldn’t just walk in. If you wanted in, you would have to ring a bell and their butler would only allow you in – depending on the bar’s ability to accommodate you. Luckily, you could call to reserve or ask questions, only in the evening. This is actually the reality of Super Panda Circus, a bar located in Czech Republic’s Brno city. Their motto reads: “A completely different world, nothing makes sense.”
It’s Monday night at about 11 PM when four of us arrive at Super Panda Circus. There is no sign with the bar’s name or activities at the front door, only a tiny hidden signage of ‘Drinking Times’ by the entrance with a disclaimer saying – “Maximum group of 4 people.”
After ringing the bell we wait a few minutes before the butler opening to alert us that Super Panda Circus is currently full, and that we should try return in the next 30 minutes to check if they will have space for us. Our friend Iveta, who studies in Brno, comes here often. She tells us that on a normal day – people line up outside the club waiting for a chance to get in. “It’s crazy because from the first day, the bar never had a sign. People just know of its legend,” Iveta notes.
We find a fancy beer bar around the corner to kill time and when we return, we are lucky this time. Right from the get-go, the bar is a circus and one helluva trip—you really don’t need to be intoxicated to see weird and fun things here. Their reception desk resembles a hotel’s. Here is where the butler decides who gets in according to the flow inside. Some guests are sitting on a couch at this area, not sure if they are on their way out or this is their ideal spot. All jackets and luggage are left down here.
We are then lead to a hypnotic holding area – a space so tiny it can only fit the four of us. I love the vibe here. The walls around us are black and filled with the most random writings in white. One says: “The leopard ate some chapatis and somehow switched on the TV.”
There is a TV, with minimalist entertainment – just some slow motion movements of some dancers or something like that – and hipster-ish music. We are playing video games when a waiter brings us a welcome drink – some herbal tea. The butler returns to take us upstairs into the bar. You mean this wasn’t even the real deal? Alas!
A thin staircase leads us into the bar decorated by graffitied walls. A waiter leads us to a spin board. Spin the board to get a number that will spotlight a cocktail, after which the waiter will expound on its components. All the drinks on the board and in the bar are only numbered – no titles or names. You can’t come to order the ordinary like Gin and Tonic. The menu says: “We don’t have a regular menu, we have stories. In every one you have to lose to find what you need – whether it’s the meaning of the universe or just a drink for today.”
This is tough for me because I am usually accustomed to partaking what is familiar to me. I actually ask to order a different drink from my spin’s choice and I am allowed. The mixologist has got a cool-cut beard and hairdo—something like the European Jidenna.
The sitting space has compartments and is designed just like a theatre. Our space only fits four. I can taste the experimentalism in each one of our drinks. My Rum-infused cocktail is a little too strong so it comes with Coca-Cola bourbons on the side. Iveta tells us that one time the bar served a cocktail that would come with a side that required takers to sniff chocolate powder—as if it were cocaine.
The roof’s lining is a pompous and velvety cloth flowing in waves. Fascinated, I find myself following its design only to discover that there is an artwork of an opera lady, at the start of the rooftop as soon as you reach upstairs, and the entire red ceiling is her dress! After about three drinks we call it a night. As we stagger home, I can’t stop thinking about the mystery of Super Panda Circus. I am left high and dry, with only an experience worth writing home about.
BONUS: Check out Super Panda Circus website here: http://www.superpandacircus.cz/