Today we sent a message to the Sax speakeasy and waited for a reply with directions and a password in order to get access to this well hidden, and praised, wine bar.
A few hours later we had the information and followed the directions using our iPhone.
We found ourselves standing in a dark alleyway, at an intercom, speaking the secret password used for that specific day, which is only given upon request and approval.
We were granted entry and stepped into an old stairway at the buzz of the door; a white blank stairway that looked dated and out of place.
Up the stairs we went, to be greeted by a gentleman who led us into a tiny room filled with coat hangers, velvet chairs, and bookshelves. He told us we had to figure out the access to enter the bar, and after a long time we found a string which triggered the lock and a coat hanger door handle that completed the process. The gentleman also offered tips and help when we were dumbfounded as to how the door opened; but now we were in, and as we passed through a set of red velvet curtains my mouth dropped in awe.
Beautiful high ceilings with modern chandeliers made from metal, velvet seats and sofas, everywhere pictures of jazz and saxophones, and a mirror on nearly every wall decorated elegantly with candles all around the luxurious space.
To the right was the bar; well stocked and housing cases of fine cheeses to accompany your wine.
The menu we were told was non existent and was actually the array of bottles lining the walls on bookshelves…. the menu was the physical bottles in front of you and we asked for a local recommendation. The service was knowledgeable, polite, great for conversation, and everything you’d want when visiting a place as interesting as this.
After we were seated at a quaint table in the back the waiter brought us a taster of a Romania wine called Bauer – 2015; a light bodied fruity red that was exquisite.
It was such an easy drinker that I was alarmed to see the 14.7% on the back of the bottle, and placed an order for a bottle of water to go along with it.
Hands down it is one of the best red wines I’ve had in my whole life, and I wish I could find it to take one home and store with our wine collection for a later date. The flavors, the color, the light body of it; everything about this wine was flawless and each sip was an adventure as I noticed different notes every time that made this wine propel into its own league of elegance.
As we sat sipping our new found love, we were never short of sights to see; each part of the speakeasy had been carefully decorated and planned to make it feel as though you really had gone back in time to those prohibition years.
If you find yourself in Cluj, and you too are an avid wine drinker, then make sure you get yourself to Sax. It might be a little hard to find but the fun of the trip is worth every moment from the alleyway, to the mystery puzzle door, and if for nothing else it’s worth it just for the wine itself.
Absolutely magnificent. My top pick for the number one bar in Cluj Napoca.
Bravo Sax, bravo. I won’t forget you anytime soon.
Until next time,
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