Singapore’s MO Bar may be barely two years old, but in its fledgling stage has already made a big impact on Asia’s bar scene. Head bartender Adrian Besa was given a blank canvas to experiment with the design and structures for the venue and these plans are already bearing fruit as MO Bar is named the Michter’s Art of Hospitality Award winner as part of Asia’s 50 Best Bars 2021.
The bar’s strategy is to gain status as a destination bar within a hotel, rather than being labelled as just another hotel bar. To achieve this, the team are given the tools to operate outside of the confines generally associated with hotel bar programmes. At the heart of this is a unique ‘treats’ initiative, which allows staff members to provide gifts to guests who have made a booking to celebrate a special occasion, be that a birthday, a successful business meeting or, just simply, because it’s Friday.
This is all coordinated through a back-of-house whiteboard, where the team are encouraged to add their personal stamp to a guest’s experience. It could be influenced by a topic that has come up in conversation through their interaction, something they might have overheard, or from researching the guest before they arrive. Patrons might receive a cake, a special bottle of wine, some of their favourite food, or a card signed by all the team with some gifts to take away. It means that two guest experiences will never be the same.
Although this isn’t style over substance. At the core of MO Bar lies an advanced cocktail programme that ties nicely to the storytelling around glassware and ingredient origins. In contrast to many other top cocktail bars, MO Bar chooses to have its advanced drink-crafting equipment – Rotovap, sonic infusers and water bath – on show in the main bar space. They form the basis for behind-the-bar tours that all guests who show an interest in the equipment can receive.
Bartenders at MO Bar are encouraged to bring back glassware and vessels from their travels to use in the bar. It has given rise to a huge range of pottery and ceramics which each have a story to tell from the person who brought it. For the MO Bar team, it is all geared towards making lasting and unique connections with guests.
A hotel bar with the spirit of an indie cocktail lab coursing through its veins, MO Bar is a worthy winner of the Michter’s Art of Hospitality Award 2021.
To find out more, read the interview with Adrian Besa and Etienne Francois and watch the video:
Discover more about the previous award winners