Sunday, December 05, 2021

Veronika, Farhana, John an Rory Walk into Villa of Matra Bar

 This week  Macquarie Dictionary named “strollout” as its official word of the year for 2021.

The value of staying active …

The ‘active grandparent hypothesis’: New research explores how we’ve evolved to move more and live longer

For the season …

 Last Sunday was the first day of Advent.


The leaves are fallen, but the sky is clear

(Though winter’s scheduling an arctic flight).

The rumor is a rendezvous draws near.

Some say a telling sign will soon appear,

Though evidence this may be so is slight:

The leaves are fallen, but the sky is clear.

Pale skeptics may be perfectly sincere

To postulate no ground for hope, despite

The rumor that a rendezvous draws near.

More enterprising souls may shed a tear

And, looking up, behold a striking light:

The leaves are fallen, but the sky is clear.

The colourful kings, their courtiers, and priests, all fear

Arrival of a challenge to their might:

The rumor is a rendezvous draws near.

The wise in search of something all can cheer

May not rely on ordinary sight:

The leaves are fallen, but the sky is clear.

Within a common place may rest one dear

To all who yearn to see the world made right.

The leaves are fallen, but the sky is clear.

The rumor is a rendezvous draws near.

That light-filled, homey cafe is Bill’s Darlinghurst. Thanks Bill Granger for 10 years of excellent brunches in a beautiful setting.

Australia’s Sexiest Bar, Cafe, Restaurant and Hotel Designs are Honoured in 2021’s Eat Drink Design Awards

Our 25 favourite hotel bars

The Fumoir at Claridge’s, London Designed by Thierry Despont in the mid-1990s, this glowing jewel box of a Beaux-Arts-inspired space, with its dark plum leather-lined walls and plush dove-grey velvet banquettes, invites its guests into a world that harks back to Evelyn Waugh’s Bright Young Things. Although The Fumoir is beloved by the fashion set, it is not unusual to find yourself sitting next to a Hollywood actor or business mogul. The beauty of the place is that everyone is somehow visibly invisible. The bartenders are the perfect mix of familiar and utterly discreet. They will never forget your usual cocktail (whisky sour) or your usual table (Table Two). Fiona Golfar 

The English Bar at the Athénée Palace Hilton, Bucharest The English Bar at the Athénée Palace In the fevered atmosphere of the 1930s, when Bucharest was a haunt of spies, fascists, revolutionaries and writers, including of course a young Olivia Manning, there was one essential bar for gossip – and classy Romanian “champagne”. In the early 1990s, after the fall of the Ceausescus, Bucharest was again such a haunt and the Athénée Palace was again to the fore. Awkward ex-secret policemen in leather jackets hovered in the shadows; sparkling wine and caviar were on tap at ludicrously cheap state-subsidised prices; and one of the best Roma bands in the country played. In recent years the hotel had a third coming after a makeover by the Hilton Group. It has lost its 1990s shabby-chic charm, the subsidies and the ex-secret police; but look out over the elegant central square it adorns, and the romance of the 1930s’ Paris of the East and The Balkan Trilogy comes alive once more. Alec Russell 

La Colombe d’Or, Saint-Paul de Vence, France The cool crepuscular gloom is a respite from sun-baked, crowded streets. It’s a tiny space: a handful of wooden tables strewn with scarlet ashtrays. An unpretentious hotel reception area and waiting room for the terrace restaurant, the bar is also the heart of an establishment that attracted artists along the lines of Picasso, Matisse and Chagall, who paid the owner with canvases in lieu of cash (a Picasso is displayed with the casual lack of ceremony that defines the place). Today, vines grow rampant through the arched windows, reaching over the zinc bar to the banquettes where people sit hugger-mugger over a Kir – in conversation, inevitably, with a stranger who may turn out to be the curator of the Guggenheim. Catherine Fairweather 

Bar Longhi at The Gritti Palace, Venice Bar Longhi at the Gritti Palace Opulent, sumptuous, unabashedly decadent, Bar Longhi folds you into an embrace of Murano wall lamps and Fortuny fabrics, of marble and mirrors. Tuxedoed barmen glide between discreetly spaced tables bearing Bellinis and Venetian spritzes. On summer evenings, you can – you should – step outside onto the terrace overlooking the Grand Canal. If Venice is a kind of theatre, with her cavalcade of boats an unfolding diorama, you have just discovered her best seats. Stanley Stewart 

Lounge Bar at JK Place, Paris Misting a cucumber Collins at JK Place, Paris At Paris’s many historic palace hotel bars, the weight of history can be more powerful than the bitters in your drink. When JK Place touched down on a quiet side street in Saint-Germain-des-Prés (right before the pandemic: yikes), it was everything I wanted but wasn’t getting from the marquee institutions: intimate, cushy, discreet, with generous amounts of space somehow all divided into plush nooks encouraging dangerous liaisons. While the taste level is deeply sophisticated – the building is Beaux-Arts but the Michele Bonan-signed decor veers from midcentury to maximalist – the welcome is informal. The bartenders are as driven by whim and ingredients as classics, and everyone is available for a discussion. If the tryst that inevitably happens goes south, come back alone afterwards and dish. It’s habit-forming. Alexandra 

Marshall Westlight at The William Vale, New York Westlight at the William Valle, New York © Noah Fecks I wanted to hate Westlight, because to me The William Vale represents everything weird and artificial about the development of north Brooklyn. Begrudgingly, I admit that I love it. It’s on the 22nd floor. Marble bar, midcentury chairs, fairy lights, you know the look – slightly like you’re inside Instagram. And excellent drinks. One night I snuck up around closing time, and the staff let me wander as they cleaned up. The view is one of the most gorgeous you get of Manhattan, Brooklyn and Queens; you may have lived decades in the city but it launches you right back, giddy and charmed, into the fantasy of New York. 

We Lilah Raptopoulos Port Bar at the Port Skaig Hotel, Islay, Scotland It’s on the Isle of Islay, and is the place for a last pint before heading to Jura – just across the Sound – from the ferry terminal just outside. It’s got a sweet little beer garden out front, and Jura regulars (David Cameron and a few Astors among them) like to wait out the queues here. Not that the place itself, which has been operating since the 16th century, is posh; it’s the opposite. And with true character, evincing none of the famous dour Scottishness. The bartender, who’s also the owner, is amazing – one of those old-fashioned landladies who just tells story after story. It looks like nothing, but trust me: what an atmosphere. Sophy Roberts

Break Room 86 at The Line Hotel, Los Angeles 
Break Room 86 at The Line Hotel © The Line Hotel Do take in a grown-up drink in the rooftop restaurant, Openaire, before braving this portal to the 1980s. You will need steeling for the pink neon, the Atari arcade, the red Breakfast Club lockers, the entire wall of old-fashioned TVs and the even bigger wall of audio cassettes. The unrelenting weirdness justifies the queues for this jewel of Koreatown, LA’s one 24-hour district. It is brought to you by the Houston brothers, who learnt their craft in their mother’s local dive bar. 
Janan Ganesh Jati Bar at the Four Seasons Bali, Sayan, Bali Jati Bar at the Four Seasons Bali © Christian Horan Years before Ubud was irrevocably Eat Pray Love-d, this bar was already a Thing. An enormous crescent of wall-less space cantilevered out over the jungle that lines the Ayung river, with a double-height ceiling and spectacular views, the Jati delivers old-school Bali feels along with faultless classic cocktails, which are mixed in a sunken bar at the edge of the precipice. The place to be is one of the half-dozen seats that face directly out over the vivid-green canopy, sipping and listening to the rush of water harmonising with the chimes of the gamelan. Maria Shollenbarger 

Bemelmans Bar at The Carlyle, New York 
Bemelmans Bar at the Carlyle Some hotel bars are designed to impress constituents. Others are better for casual cocktails with colleagues. And a few seem created expressly for late-night trysts. This iconic Upper East Side institution – named after the Ludwig Bemelmans (of Madeline fame) murals that line its walls – is one of those rare hangouts that becomes whatever one needs at that moment. The Cole Porter soundtrack, most often played by a three-piece band, is pure nostalgia; the drinks are stiff (be forewarned: one Martini here is like three anywhere else); and the sublime service makes out-of-towners feel like real New Yawkahs. In other words, like the best establishments, it transports you at first sip. Whitney Robinson