Despite only opening in 2017, this year’s No.1 has made waves across Asia’s drinks scene. A 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,” here head bartender 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. Prabowo, like Hemingway, is a man serious about his cocktails and The Old Man is well worthy of the title of The Best Bar in Asia 2019, sponsored by Perrier.