Corvallis’ Secret Speakeasy

Justin Gella and Branden Johnson.

Corvallis’ first and only secret bar, The Whisper Project, is the brainchild of local bartenders Justin Gella and Branden Johnson.  Well-versed in the local service industry and with many years of bar tending experience under their belts, the duo is daring to be different by coaxing the people of Corvallis to rethink the way they view a cocktail bar.

If you wish to visit The Whisper Project (TWP for short), the first step is to go to their Facebook or Instagram page—there you will find clues about the location. After arriving, you’ll then have to figure out how to get inside (small hint: it can be done Harry Potter style). You’ll reach a list of house rules that you must read and agree to abide by, and then finally you will have attained entrance into the only secret speakeasy in Corvallis.

Once inside, you’ll discover a dark, dimly lit bar. It feels as though you have stepped out of a time machine and into an era from the past. An overarching steampunk aesthetic, mixed with a touch of modern industrial and vintage prohibition themes comprise the eclectic decor.  The walls are full of offbeat art, each piece containing an interesting backstory; Gella and Johnson will enthusiastically explain what each piece means to them. Also involved in the interior decorating is local mural artist Vela, who was hired to paint otherworldly murals on the walls. The art alone is worth the trip.

One mystery that will unfold quickly is that TWP is a bar for cocktail enthusiasts, where visually artistic and innovative drinks are standard. Johnson says that they are “taking the basics and standards of classical cocktail making and combining it with modern craft cocktails.” Ingredients such as hybrid syrups, bitters, tinctures, and cordials will be used alongside locally sourced distilled spirits.

The Grand Opening is set for Friday June 15, 2018; the hours of operation are 9:30 p.m. to 2:30 a.m. Gella and Johnson hope to become the trendsetters of the Corvallis cocktail scene, and invite you to come see for yourself what The Whisper Project is all about.

For more information go to The Whisper Project Facebook page

By Jennifer Moreland