Raising the bar: What makes a good bar a great bar?

When Donovan Vaz, founder of the Firefly Bistro brand, launched Tesouro in Colava, Goa on December 19, 2020 in partnership with Arijit Bose and Pankaj Balachandran, the idea was a fun bar — a water hole that is not just limited. Tourist arrivals but focus on locals who travel well and appreciate a good drink.

“We wanted to give them a place where they could call themselves or just their ‘neighborhood bar’. A place tourists and locals and people in the beverage industry can feel at home in the hands of well-known bartenders working with a huge list of spirits and drinks. South Goa can be proud of a place, “said co-founder Balachandran, who was part of the Taj Hotel and later opened the food chain Perch Wine and Coffee Bar. He is also known as the former brand ambassador of Monkey Shoulder Whiskey in the Indian subcontinent.

Well, today Tessouro is a bar that the whole country is proud of. It recently ranked fourth on the list of Asia’s 50 Best Bars for 2022 In fact, there are four more India-based bars at the top of the rankings One in Goa and the other in Bangalore, the other three are located in the national capital.

So, what makes a good bar a great bar? Is it a unique drinking technique or a bartender’s exemplary skill? Or has something to do with the environment, the food menu, the music, the interior, the service or a combination of everything?

Bartender’s bar

Down the plush lane in the greater Kailash II area of ​​South Delhi, one arrives in a sidecar, ranked 14th among Asia’s 50 best bars, the third entry on the list. When someone enters through its door, a quiet sensation is dawn when someone leaves in a hurry. The atmosphere is soothing with the sound of good music filled with air.

Founded by Meenakshi Singh and Yang Dup Lama, both of whom have made a name for themselves in the wine industry, the bar is a combination of their rich experience and knowledge. Yet they call it the ‘bartender’s bar’. “We are led by bartenders. They are very interactive; One can walk alone, sit at the bar and talk to the bartender. How comfortable it is, “said Singh, who co-founded Sidecar with Lama in 2018.

Like Sidecar, Hoots-South is another water hole located in the Basant Bihar area of ​​Delhi and ranks (26th) in Asia’s 50 best bars – preferring to call itself ‘Bartender’s Bar’. The compact bar has a European feel, and its design hints at the bar of an ancient cruise ship. Slow music complements the ancient European style of relaxing and dimly lit space. There is a fictional story about its founding – three generations of the Hoots owl family – Mr. William, who started the place in the 18th century and had a classic menu, and his successors Mr. Albert and Mr. Robert (current generation) with modern cocktails. All three ranges of cocktails are served on the menu.

However, unlike sidecars, bartenders are not very interactive in huts. They would rather meet the demands of giving visitors privacy Sandeep Vishnu, who co-founded the place with Vaibhav Singh, shared that there are people behind every good bar – bartenders – and that’s how they can be a part. In the top 50 list of Asia.

A balanced menu

Bangalore’s Copitas at Four Seasons – another rank-holder on the list of Asia’s 50 best bars দার effortlessly glamorous in any way, be it a signature mix, a nice meal or a sunset scene. Cocktails speak of their homeland whose local ingredients play a major role in their composition, such as the use of betel, Coorg coffee or nannari (sarasparilla) roots.

According to Barr, the inclusion of local ingredients in the Kovid-19 epidemic was a perception of mindful consumption.
Capitas’ new ‘Greener Future’ menu is inspired by the principle of using every part of the plant, from seed to fruit. “We will tackle sustainability in order to promote a more balanced ecosystem to support the bar industry,” said Sharath Nair, bar manager at Kopitas. The menu is designed to spread the conversation around nostalgia where Nannari revives their childhood memories with a cool sip of sherbet on a summer afternoon or with a peanut bar (chickpea) – to satisfy the innocent sweetness of the time.

Similarly, Santanu Chanda, Beverage Manager, Luxury Collection, PVR, shares that Home’s new beverage menu – another water hole in Delhi that ranks in Asia’s 50 best times (30th) – inspired by fermentation and the solar system – never heard before. Tasteful combination. “All beverages are powered by solar energy where fermentation is used for preservation in a process that produces lactic acid. Fermentation is widely used to produce alcoholic beverages through the distillation process and has been used for centuries,” he shares.
At home, Oromo is a cocktail of whiskey, goat cheese, cold brew coffee and orange bitter, Mercedo is a combination of wax vodka, jasmine saccharine and avocado rock. The cocktail menu becomes even more exciting with each composition.

Its food menu is equally attractive with an additional focus on health. Chef Harpal Singh adds that their summer menu is the culmination of popular flavors / ingredients from the Indian subcontinent.

Tesouro’s bar menu includes progressive-style cocktails and local craft spirits, and an extensive drink list. “We believe the drinking cycle ends not only at the bar but at our customers’ homes when they see bills and losses in the morning. The quality of the spirits we use, the drinks we make and the food we serve, we make sure that quality plays a major role in our menu. This improves our recurring clients because our guests know they are coming back for a great time and are not giving up, ”explains co-founder Balachandran.

“We have built a strong team that cares about the smallest detail, as far as good alcohol is concerned,” he added.

Delhi Sidecar introduces a new menu every year and retains the best from their past. This year, they have launched a menu ‘Dear Delhi’ dedicated to Delhi with cocktails like Delhi-6, Mehrauli, DU Special and Cont, inspired by these places and their popular flavors and spices.

Epidemic hangover

From bartending to owning a bar, Singh and Lama Kovid, the founders of Sidecar, have come a long way between the 19 epidemics. For them the epidemic was a time of financial constraints, yet they invented as a team and established their own farm, land in Gurugram to source their green vegetables. “In fact, it has proven to be very affordable because we now have all the organic products and everything seasonal. It’s going to be even tastier, “added co-founder Singh.

The epidemic was so challenging for the hospitality industry and for Goa Tesoro, it was even worse, as it knocked in the middle of it.

“We had to climb the Kovid wave. Our talented team has done everything possible to stay afloat, including online masterclasses for cocktails, creating non-alcoholic mixers for blending with spirits, and being delivery boys to serve our signature meals across Goa. Shows great strength and resilience to run what was thrown at us, ”said co-founder Balachandran.

“Now that the number of cases has decreased, the number of people who can be accommodated at the bar and the changes we are making have definitely improved,” he added.

Nair, the bar manager at Capitas, has recently noticed that alcoholism is slowly returning to normal after the epidemic. “Contemplative drinking, focusing on storytelling and certain changes that are sustainable. Also, people are now choosing more health conscious and low calorie drinks, “he shared.

Indian bars in Asia’s 50 best bars for 2022

  • Tessouro, Goa (4th) by Firefly
  • Sidecar, Delhi (14th)
  • Hoots, Delhi (26th)
  • PVR Home, Delhi (30th)
  • Copitas, Bangalore (44th)

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