Sonos sound system used in a speak easy bar

“Music is the invisible element to our design that brings life to our entire ensemble” – Booth 1 Bar in San Juan.

Brief Background of Heritage Site

Tucked in a quiet area of San Juan is the Castro House built in 1933 by Sps. Melquiades & Victoria Castro. The house was briefly used by the Japanese as their propaganda office during the Japanese invasion and hides a 15 sqm bomb shelter underneath its kitchen floor.

Design Rationale


The unique appeal of the Castro House’s bomb shelter inspired us to adaptively reuse it into a speakeasy. Speakeasies were illegal establishments that sold alcoholic drinks during the Prohibition Era in the United States (c. 1920-1933). They were called “speakeasies” because of the practice of speaking quietly about it in public places. Today, speakeasies have returned to the local bar scene but remain covert in places you would not normally expect – behind a curtained wall in a convenience store or in this case, under the dark hallows of an ancestral house! We chose not to name the bar and use a secret tag line instead to preserve the bar’s exclusivity.Music is the invisible element to our design that brings life to our entire ensemble



“Multilocalism”, referring to an awareness of foreign cultures and imbibing them locally, is used as concept for our design, achieved by combining the intimate allure of the speakeasy, the spartan look of a bomb shelter, and the familiar elements of Filipino style. From aboveground, a funnel-like stairway leads to the bar with amber lights glowing from its intricate panels made from capiz and wood chips, highlighting the liquor display supported by metal bars. Smokey accent mirrors, complementing the texture of polished cement, hide the latrine and TV. Across the bar, the wall is accentuated by machuca tiles as an ode to the shelter’s original flooring. The seating is a fusion of contemporary wire bar stools and accent tables in solehiya weave pattern. Completing the ambience is the ceiling donned in earth colored

sandbags. Carefully placed ambient lighting cast a sense of clandestinity, staying true to the historical attributes of a speakeasy.


Sonos Sound System


            The Sonos Sound system was able to set the atmosphere by providing clear and full sound to the whole booth. Its wireless connectivity allowed the group to place sound in a more versatile location, to create the perfect balance for the space.


Speakers used: 1 Play:1 and 1 Play:3


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