This TTDI speakeasy is the start of a collaboration between two longtime friends

This Ttdi Speakeasy Marks The First Chapter Of A Shared Venture Between 2 Longtime Friends




A three-person editing team enters a speakeasy bar and tries

Okay, I’m not sure where that joke was going, but it’s based on a genuine story. A while back, we were invited to The First Chapter, a speakeasy in TTDI.

The name was already appealing, and their email pitch, which billed the location as the “ideal getaway for bookworms and partygoers,” drew attention right away. (Can you guess which category we belong to?)

When I arrived at the place, the entry was hidden behind a large black door with no signage, in true speakeasy style. A keypad to our right held the day’s passcode, which was handed to us by the crew when we made our reservation. For the time being, it is still based on reservations for crowd management.

As you ascend the stairs, you’ll be greeted by a massive bookcase that stretches from floor to ceiling. Self-help, business acumen, romance novels, and other genres of books can be borrowed here.

This TTDI speakeasy is the start of a collaboration between two longtime friends

Books on books on books on… you get the idea

These are grab-and-go books, which means you can take one to read at the bar or borrow one to take home after a night out, just as you would at a library.

It’s possible for customers to return the book or trade it for a book that someone else has given them at a later time.

As the team put it, this should entice people to come back for cocktails as well.

This TTDI speakeasy is the start of a collaboration between two longtime friends

A door that plays peekaboo

After passing through the disguised entrance door, the place is set up so that you can head right to the MySejahtera registration area.

Ceiling-to-floor dark wood barriers on either side of you provide guests in the VIP lounge (to your left) and the bar lounge (to your right) with a little more solitude. It also serves the aim of gradually revealing the location to you as you walk through it.

This is just one of many things the team used to make the speakeasy feel like a high-end and private place. The moody and sensual lighting also helps.

This TTDI speakeasy is the start of a collaboration between two longtime friends

Plush seats and elegant lighting in the VIP lounge, and the tables throughout the space have had their heights customised for comfortable eating and drinking

We arrived at 5 p.m., just after the bar’s opening and far ahead of the regular throng, which arrives around 8 p.m., so the place was peaceful, ideal for a few rounds of laid-back drink sipping and chatting.

So that’s what we did

We learned that they’re targeting the working class from co-founders Shawn Luke and Ben Nair over some light nibbles and one of their newer creations, a yet-to-be-named red drink that combines in-house raspberry puree and syrup with Prosecco.

This TTDI speakeasy is the start of a collaboration between two longtime friends

The new drink was light and refreshing, ideal for the early evening

The Initial Chapter The Speakeasy aspires to be a venue where you may meet for business or work during happy hour. At the same time, it may be transformed into a party venue after hours, keeping it open until 12 a.m. Tuesday through Saturday.

What is the significance of this location? Shawn told us that when he was growing up and working in TTDI, he noted that there weren’t many speakeasies.

“There are several bars, sports bars, and restaurant bars, but there has never been a speakeasy serving proper cocktails.” We wanted to incorporate the full speakeasy notion with a concealed entrance and a great lounge environment just to introduce that kind of repertory within TTDI. “

Shawn used his 11 years of experience in the food and beverage industry, including running Circa Bar. Ben used his training at Omakase + Appreciate, where he learned how to make cocktails.

After several discussions over cocktails at their houses, the two buddies finally bit the bullet and joined hands, and the rest is history.

Shawn now works full-time as the operations manager at The First Chapter, and Ben works the bar every night after his day job as a financial contract manager.

Books, libations, and hors d’oeuvres

The name “The First Chapter” refers to the duo’s first venture together, and it fits in beautifully with the outside bookshelf concept.

This TTDI speakeasy is the start of a collaboration between two longtime friends

A first chapter that’s hooked their audience

They explained that a tiny fraction of the books on the bookshelf came from their own collection, while the remaining 1,300 books came from Big Bad Wolf when Shawn and Ben contacted them.

We told each other during our conversation that we thought The First Chapter would be a bar in a library that served drinks inspired by imaginary book characters.

Though they haven’t yet created beverages based on such characters, they haven’t ruled out the idea of doing so in the future, given that their cocktail selection is rotated every six months.

This TTDI speakeasy is the start of a collaboration between two longtime friends

Sweet tooths will love Payasam, Wake Me The F*ck Up brings a strong cold brew flavour without the sour notes, and The Mandarine will please those who love tropical, sunny flavours

There is already a Regina George on the existing menu for movie buffs. The Rose Infused Gin and Chrysanthemum Infused Gin (both RM42) are hallmark cocktails, and Ben’s Margarita (RM38) is a must-try for classic drinkers.

The Scottish Nut (RM35) combines Johnnie Walker Black, house-infused hazelnut tincture, and fresh lime, while The Mandarine (RM38) combines Prohibition whiskey, Cointreau, yuzu, orange, aquafaba, and lemon.

The First Chapter’s twist on a classic Indian dish was a more creative and dessert-like option. The minty freshness and deep creaminess are provided by the house-infused coconut cream and Fernet Branca.

The light nibbles we had were chicken and beef sausage rolls, which were freshly prepared in the rear kitchen. While the cocktails are the main attraction, the cuisine is also a contender.

This TTDI speakeasy is the start of a collaboration between two longtime friends

The beef sausage rolls made in-house were absolutely delightful, packed with flavour and had the right balance between juicy and firm

Getting ready to fire their next shot

After 6 months of running The First Chapter and receiving positive feedback, Shawn and Ben are ready to build a new speakeasy in Damansara Heights that is twice the size.

It will be given a new name and a distinct design theme, and it is expected to open in early June this year.

While it may seem premature given how new The First Chapter is, Shawn and Ben have demonstrated that they aren’t the kind to sit around and wait for opportunities to come their way.

From the self-designed facility to the cocktails shaken up and served at the bar, The First Chapter was developed from the ground up with sheer love.

If Shawn isn’t on the floor mingling with the crowd, he’ll be in the kitchen preparing food, and despite the fact that they already have three bartenders selling beverages, Ben will almost certainly be behind the bar.

This TTDI speakeasy is the start of a collaboration between two longtime friends

Ben getting down to business behind the bar

This duo’s creativity and passion have been bubbling for a long time, and The First Chapter is only the beginning of what they’re capable of.