Pssst, a downtown Dallas hotel has a secret. Sova, a boutique hotel with mini-rooms that opened in 2021, has debuted a new bar that embraces one of the buzziest trends in bars right now: the speakeasy.
Called Room 520, it's a secret bar tucked between hotel rooms, open limited hours with a small menu of specialty cocktails boasting Japanese flavors.
Not unlike the hotel rooms, Room 520 is small, with a capacity of about 25 guests, which creates a total "party with your friends" vibe.
And being a speakeasy, it has the essential element every speakeasy needs: A secret procedure to enter. Speakeasies can't just be available to anyone who walks in off the street. You need to be in the know regarding the particulars of how to find it and how to get in. (You'll have to keep reading this story to find out how. In that regard, this story is identical to a speakeasy in that it's making you jump through hoops to get what you want.)
Speakeasy bars have been the buzz in Dallas-Fort Worth, with at least a dozen speakeasies emerging in the past couple years, especially post-pandemic, with operators seeking creative ways to do business and keep patrons on premise. If your location has an extra room, you can designate it as a speakeasy and give restless customers two experiences in one.
The concept at the Sova was devised by Morgan Shirk, sister to Brandon and Blake Shirk, who founded the hotel after being inspired by their international travels to create a sophisticated yet inexpensive-by-conventional-standards place to stay. Sova features "micro-rooms" from 120 to 220 square feet, whose petite size is compensated for with luxe elements such as Japanese robotic toilets with wash-and-dry options.
Room 520 follows that model, both in size and theme. It's a small bar, with Japanese inspiration for both decor and cocktails, created by in-house mixologist Andres Martinez, including one with matcha green tea, another with ginger liqueur, and another called a Cherry Blossom.
"It's modeled after a hotel room experience, with an entry that relies on a room key card," Shirk says. "This was a room we weren't using and wanted to add another offering."
Shield your screen right now because we're about to reveal the super-secret procedure to get in:
You must "check in" to Room 520 at the front desk, where you are given a room key card with a code that grants you entry. The bar is on the third floor — but unless you're in the know, you'd just pass it by, since it has ordinary room signage on the door.
"We think it is super fun and unique since guests have to use an actual pin pad for the room after following 'room' signs to the third floor," Shirk says.
The bar is open limited hours — Thursday-Friday-Saturday from 6-10 pm — although it can be rented for private parties at other times. And since it's small, there's a chance that not everyone can get in, which surely makes it yet more alluring.
For those unable to gain entrance, there's a bar in the lobby serving cocktails from 11 am-2 am, and that one is open to everyone.