Please Don’t Tell by World Class at Mandarin Oriental, Barcelona

Please Don’t Tell (PDT) by World Class moves from New York to Barcelona for a month of masterful cocktails and hot dogs designed by star chefs.


Please Don’t Tell (PDT), the renowned Manhattan speakeasy, popped up across the Atlantic in Barcelona in September. The location is already one of my top picks for a classy cocktail, the Banker’s Bar at Barcelona’s Mandarin Oriental hotel. To mark the presence of the New York City crew, the bar has been redecorated in PDT’s signature style, with taxidermy hung over the Mandarin’s usual security-box-themed interior and a mural inspired by the Big Apple. The entrance, too, has been transformed to recreate the speakeasy shtick: to gain entrance you have to pass through a faux-phone booth.

PDT co-founder Jim Meehan, general manager Jeff Bell and head bartender Adam Schmidt have imported their most famous cocktails and created a few new ones to reflect the change of venue. Spanish ciders, beers and spirits have been used to give new dimensions to some classic drinks.

The food? Hot dogs. But not just any old sausages-in-a-bun.  Some of the world’s leading chefs have turned their talents to making fast food that defies convention: Completo Chileno by Joan Roca,  Bluefin Hot Hog by Ángel León, El Limeñaso by Gastón Acurio, CR by Carme Ruscalleda, New Orleans Hot Dog by Albert Adrià, plus of course a PDT original and some of New York’s favourite sides, such as tater tots and waffles. I didn’t try them all – but I wish I could have. €2 of each hot dog (all cost €16) is given to La Caixa Foundation.

As Jim explains, “The strong flavours and saltiness of hot dogs are ideal pairings for the cocktails.” And what cocktails they are. Jim’s Caffè Coretto, served in a coffee cup, is a delicious vodka-based twist on an Italian shakerato. His El Born, without a doubt my personal favourite, is a variation of the Brooklyn. Swapping a NYC district for a BCN barrí means adding Dolin Blanc vermouth, Amer Picon and Patxaran to Bulleit Bourbon Rye, to stunning effect. Jeff’s Sgt. Pepper swaps Don Julio tequila for gin in a super-smooth G&T  variation – adding  Jack Rudy tonic syrup, lime juice, agave syrup, club soda and roasted pimiento de padrón – and the result is a perfect match for the hot dogs.

Please Don’t Tell will soon be packing up its Barcelona bar and heading home to Manhattan after a sold-out residency at the Mandarin Oriental hotel. I hope the guys will be back soon; or failing that, I hope that the Banker’s Bar keeps the El Born on its menu. And I know where I’m going for a drink next time I’m in NYC.








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