Last year’s No.1 bar continues to set the pace for the continent’s cocktail scene. An abstract, geometric portrait of Ernest Hemingway assembled from surplus building materials leftover from The Old Man’s build three years ago casts a watchful eye over curious imbibers, who suck down drinks flavoured with lacto-fermented raspberry and beeswax-infused bourbon. Inspired by the American novelist’s worldly travels and penchant for proper potations, and named after his 1952 Pulitzer Prize-winning novel The Old Man and the Sea, head bartender and owner Agung Prabowo has built a concise list of libations inspired by the author’s favourite drinks, spirits and flavours. Many cocktails incorporate rotovap distillation technology, and are built from a mix of sweet and savoury ingredients, some rarely found in cocktails, such as Gruyère cheese.
Sexy and intimate, the snug lounge conveys a sense of exoticism thanks to tropical foliage accents and pops of jungle green, while a unique T-shaped bar (smartly designed with a cold metal strip down its centre to keep guests’ drinks cold) affords little barrier between patrons and bartenders, yielding a chic home living room atmosphere.