We can’t tell you where The Whisper Project is located.
A key part of experiencing this Corvallis speakeasy is finding the secret spot, which opened in mid-June and specializes in craft cocktails.
Of course, the hush-hush nature of the establishment has caused confusion at times, including for Uber drivers reluctant to drop residents off at a bar that doesn’t exist, or, at least, not in the traditional sense.
“We’ve had some interesting stories about people trying to find us,” said Branden Johnson, who owns the speakeasy with Justin Gella.
There aren’t any signs advertising The Whisper Project, and its address isn’t listed. Residents have to figure out the location through clues on the business’ Facebook page or Instagram feed.
Johnson, a South Albany High School graduate, said that he aimed to be unique with The Whisper Project, and include an element of surprise with the decorations and the drinks themselves, which sometimes come with lavish presentations.
“We just want to do what we love and we want to deliver an experience that’s different,” Johnson added. He also said he wanted to take people to a place that felt outside of Corvallis somehow.
The Whisper Project, however, still puts an emphasis on Oregon with its liquors, many of which are from the Beaver State, and other additions to the beverages. The bitters, tinctures, cordials, infusions and other ingredients are made in house.
Another element of surprise is one of the most popular drinks on the menu, the “omakase.” The word, roughly translated from Japanese, means “I’ll leave it up to you.” Plenty of customers have entrusted Johnson or Gella to create a brand-new drink for them.
Gella said he often starts off an omakase by asking customers whether they would like something more spirit-forward or citrusy. By just talking with a patron, he’s able to make a cocktail tailored to their tastes or perhaps even their mood.
Johnson said the omakase is just one more way he can enjoy the thrill of being innovative.
“It’s like the surfer in the ocean,” said Gella, who is originally from Oahu. “This is our ocean.”
Johnson and Gella are both experienced bartenders in the mid-Willamette Valley. Gella, for example, honed his craft at Vault 244 in downtown Albany.
“This has been a dream come true for us. We talked about doing this for quite a while,” he said.
The Whisper Project has an eclectic mix of decorations, many of which are second-hand, gifts or original works of art. The Corvallis Mural Project helped with paintings in the speakeasy.
Some of the décor is vintage cocktail equipment and can be used to create drinks.
The Whisper Project also has a tapas menu for those looking for a smaller bite to eat.
The current hours for the business are from 9:30 p.m. to 1:30 a.m. on Thursday through Saturday, and from 7 p.m. to midnight on Sunday.
Starting Aug. 30, the Whisper Project will be open from 8 p.m. to 1 a.m. on Thursday through Saturday, and from 7 p.m. to midnight on Sunday.
For more information on The Whisper Project, call 541-740-9196 or go to the business’ Facebook page.