It’s simple... hit the concrete and explore. And when you do, you’ll find hidden within the walls of an established venue a speakeasy seemingly transported from another land. Realm of the 52 Remedies is stirring up cures for all of San Diego’s Convoy District.
OUR ARTICLEBY: Ben Hitch Contributing writer
In an instance the perception of the mind can be transformed as a picture is painted of a world unknown. Guided from the doors of reality into the apothecary, waits a display of ancient Chinese remedies. The surrounding walls are fiercely white, accented by mirrored shelves housing a variety of tinctures and jarred herbs. Towering from floor to ceiling is a sumi-e painted medicine man overlooking a cornered glass door. His eyes gaze upon etched calligraphy of the recipes for the 52 ailments, while hiding in the script is a single white character that when covered by the palm of your hand opens the door into the Realm.
Tending the bar are devilishly knowledgeable cocktailers crafting drinks with well paired and exquisitely simple components.
Walking through a formed tunnel of hanging vases and falling vines, it quickly becomes evident that the taco infused world of San Diego has been left behind. The gateway eventually opens into a lavish room of exotic fortune. Sauntering through the den, a handful of isolated booths surround the hideout. Each is sheltered by tattered drapes and centered by sheared tree trunks set in a cloudy lacquer.
Flanking the stalls is an emerald lily pad patterned glossed bar of fifteen stools. And hanging above is an intricate metal weaving of makeshift clouds. The combination gives the illusion of a tranquil pond nestled up to the reminisce of an ancient opium den. Furthered by hazy shadows from dizzying ceilings and native ornamentation, Realm of the 52 Remedies’ representation has to be as close to the real thing as Hollywood would lead you to imagine. Tending the bar are devilishly knowledgeable cocktailers crafting drinks with well paired and exquisitely simple components. And to top off a selection of the libations is a hand-carved cube bearing the Realm’s logo burnt into the surface.
The collection of spirits behind the bar seems a little off given the surrounding decor, but similar to the Realm itself, the Asian originned whiskeys are hiding behind a rotating glass partition fortified by the keeper. And from his guard comes the smoke-infused Opium Den that is highlighted by a shiitake mushroom cordial (liqueur). The glass is filled with smoke and capped by a small sampling bowl of pretzels intended to balance the sweet and smoldering essence of the remedy.
As there is a two hour limit to all Realm expeditions, your existence in a distant land is soon to fade. But, as you step away from the bar or expose yourself from the hidden enclaves, remember to embrace the surroundings and take in a final breath as Realm of the 52 Remedies is meant to cure the ailments of the mind, body, soul and that fun game of life. It’s an experience from an immemorial time that follows you out the door and back into reality.
Make a reservation. Let me repeat, make a reservation
The Convoy District is littered with amazing food. Check out Magic Hat Kitchen
Don’t be afraid to drop the pretzels into the Opium Den
Continue the theme of the eve and fire up The House of Flying Daggers
THE MORNING BUZZ
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