Flushing ramen restaurant to open Shanghai-style speakeasy

Flushing-based Shaku Ramen is opening a speakeasy below its dining room called Below Shaku on Thursday, Dec. 15. (Photo by Noah Feck)

Flanked by a decades-old pho shop and an H-Mart, Shaku Ramen in Flushing at first glance appears as a casual, unassuming ramen joint. Tucked below the full-service restaurant, however, lives an eponymous speakeasy called Below Shaku, which is set to open its disguised doors on Thursday, Dec. 15.

(Photo by Noah Feck)

The covert bar, located at 156-30 Northern Blvd., draws inspiration from Shanghai’s Golden Age, exuding a vintage feel of clandestine luxury with its dim lighting, unpolished Nero Marquina walls and striking red accents.

With nods to the Copacabana scene in “Goodfellas” and La Esquina’s below-ground speakeasy, Below Shaku’s entry point is through a flight of kitchen stairs where an underground lounge awaits.

The bar features DIY fresh fruit soju drinks mixed by patrons themselves and spotlights high-end brands like Krug Vintage champagne and premium bottles of sake including the silky, delicately effervescent Uka Junmai Daiginjo, and the herbal, medium-bodied Sakuragawa FutsuShu Magnum.

(Photo by Noah Feck)

Founders Ajay Chawla, Lawrence Wai and Moul Kim — the same people who pioneered the bouncy cheesecake trend stateside — envisioned Shaku Ramen as a no-frills, familiar space peddling playful Japanese fare, a stark contrast to the slick sake den that lives beneath it. 

Shaku’s signature dishes include the tempura enoki, delicately fried enoki mushrooms powdered with black truffle then served alongside a housemade truffle aioli; the kani king crab miso ramen (a classic of Northern Japan); and the butadon bouquet, thin petals of smoky-sweet pork belly that lie atop a bed of rice. 

(Photo by Noah Feck)
(Photo by Noah Feck)

From Thursday to Saturday, patrons can fill up on Japanese fare before descending a flight of kitchen stairs to this after hours hangout with tony beverages paired with music ranging from ’70s disco to ’90s hip-hop classics. 

Below Shaku has a 25-seat capacity. The speakeasy is open from 8 p.m. to 2 a.m. Thursday through Saturday, while Shaku Ramen’s hours of operation are 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily.