5 Must-See Hidden Spaces From Around the World
While an unfortunate trend of removing heritage buildings in order to make room for new architecture has been witnessed in many international cities (I’m looking at you, Toronto), historic gems can still be found in many places around the world. Some landmarks make for popular tourist visitations, however many remnants from the past remain hidden. These ‘hidden spaces’ are often found in surprising places, including a local watering hole or a great place to get a bite.
By their very nature, these historic hotspots can be difficult to find. While there are certain to be innumerable worldwide, here are 5 unique spots to begin your hidden tour:
Le Cavern – Paris, France
Upon entry at street-level, Le Cavern seems like your average ‘hipster’ bar, with a counter, a few bar stools, and a friendly bartender to greet you upon arrival. If not for the bar’s name (literally, ‘the cave’) or the quiet hum of music below, it would be easy to mistake this main-level as the entirety of the place. Fortunately, the slender stairway adjacent the bar descends into one of the city’s most vibrant music venues, an underground cave with stone-lined walls, low ceilings, and a steady flow of beer on tap. While the exact age of the cave – once a cool place used as a cellar to preserve food and wine – is unknown, it certainly feels like a step back in time. Stash your coat away in one of the ‘bench trunks’ and get ready for an unforgettable evening.
Le Cavern is located at 21 Rue Dauphine 75006 Paris 06, France.
For more information, visit: www.lecavernclub.com
The Stirling Room – Toronto, Canada
Toronto’s historic Distillery District is a popular destination for tourists and visitors. However, while many of the area’s landmarks and their history are easy to find on display, one place remains relatively unknown. The Stirling Room is a bar and local event venue. While the bar itself is quite beautiful, residing in one of the original brick buildings from the Gooderham and Worts distillery and elegantly decorated with chandeliers and marble bars, it’s what rests underneath that’s truly amazing. In the bar’s basement lies a long brick tunnel, seemingly untouched by time. It was here that whiskey crafted by the original distillery was stored and hidden during Canada’s short-lived prohibition era in the 1920s. While often closed to the public, this space can be rented out for special events or tours upon request.
The Stirling Room is located at 16 Trinity Street, Toronto, Ontario M5A 3C4.
For more information visit: www.stirlingroom.com
Albura Kathisma – Istanbul, Turkey
As one of the oldest cities in the world, it’s no surprise that Istanbul boasts a multitude of historic landmarks and ruins. However, there’s one place likely unlisted on most sightseeing maps. Albura Kathisma is a well-regarded Turkish restaurant in the city’s ‘Old Town’ – Sultanahmet. While the restaurant’s local delicacies, based on Ottoman and Byzantine classics, is sure to appease a desire to taste the region’s fare, it’s what lies beneath that will truly amaze. A narrow staircase leads down to underground ruins of the Great Palace of Constantinople (also known as the Byzantine Magnaura Palace) which housed eastern Roman or Byzantine emperors and the imperial administration from 330 – 1081 A.D. All visitors to the restaurant are welcome to view the ruins, which have been carefully preserved.
Albura Kathisma is located at Cankurtaran Mahallesi Yeni Akbıyık Caddesi No:36-38 Sultanahmet – Istanbul/Turkey.
For more information, visit: www.alburakathisma.com
Bube’s Brewery – Mount Joy, Pennsylvania (US)
Up until the mid-1800s, English ale had been the primary beer brewed in the U.S. However, due to an influx of German immigrants, lager beer became ‘all the rage’ shortly thereafter. In 1876, Alois Bube – a German immigrant himself – bought a small brewery that soon became renowned as one of Pennsylvania’s best lager producers. Today, the brewery is one of the only from the ‘lager era’ that remains, and the complex has been converted into multiple restaurants. However, it’s the Catacombs, hidden 43 feet below in the brewery’s aging cellar, that are most enticing, with their stone facade and some of the original brewing barrels used by Bube on display.
Bube’s Brewery is located at 102 North Market Street Mount Joy, Pa 17552.
For more information, visit: www.bubesbrewery.com
State of Grace – Melbourne, Australia
Visitors to Melbourne (recently revealed as the ‘most liveable’ city in the world) may find themselves walking along the historic Collins Street. Here you’ll find the Olderfleet Building, built in 1889 and originally comprised of offices for the thriving wool industry. Today, it is host to one of the city’s newest and most-talked-about restaurants and bar: State of Grace. While the main floor boasts extravagant decor from chandeliers to plush lounge couches, it’s the hidden cellar that is the most lucrative space here. This space is so hidden – in fact – that pictures of the mysterious cellar are hard to come by. Walk downstairs below the restaurant and see if you can pick out the correct book, revealing the secret cellar.
State of Grace is located at 477 Collins Street Melbourne 3000.
For more information, visit: www.stateofgracemelbourne.com.au
Know of more hidden spaces? Share their location with us in the comments!