Wednesday Cocktail Adventure: Hotel de Sers
The glowing bar at the svelte and swanky Hotel des Sers beckons as you walk through the long entry way, past trendy arm chairs and off-beat interior decor (think rainbow striped faux animal skin rug & foam boulders). The bar lighting slowly changes color, illuminating the small selection of pretty bottles in green, then red, then blue....while an ironically hip lounge version of the Rolling Stones' Emotional Rescue plays in the background. The marble tables are each adorned with a single Gerber in a simple glass vase. This seems like it could be trendy fun.
However, the first glitch was ordering my martini. I'm always surprised when bars that offer a typical dry martini on their menu seem confused when it's ordered. I managed to get the idea across, but - Martini purists, beware! - my Tanqueray/Nouilly Pratt combo came in a warm rounded, stemless glass and boasted lots of ice and lemon wedges. I had better luck with my second round which was a Summit** (congac, lime, ginger, cucumber & soda). With chunks of ginger and lime, it was spicy, refreshing and enjoyable.
The menu offers up a dozen or so 'short classics' at 16 Euros and about the same number of 'long classics' at 19 Euros. With these kind of prices, I considered the Happy Hour cocktail. However, Rose wine & Grapefruit syrup* at 12 Euros didn't really appeal. The service was very good and they refilled our bar munchies (tasty olives & potato chips) a few time since we (me?) seemed to consume them all in record time each time they arrived on the table.
I don't know what their normal crowd is like, but during our 2 hours there from 7 to 9, the bar was quiet and the few customers seemed to be anglophone business men. So, unless this was an unusual night, I'd say this is a better stop for quiet conversations among friends than a rowdy, loud, buzzing crowd.
Overall, I liked this space but I think on my next visit I might stick with the more reasonable glasses of wine (at 9 Euros) rather than the more expensive cocktails, which don't seem to be a guaranteed sure bet.
*just as a quick update/sidenote. I was in Marseilles this weekend and someone was telling me that a really popular apero down there is rose wine & grapefruit syrup and that the two seem to go really well together. I still didn't try it, but I guess this suggestion at Hotel de Sers isn't coming totally out of the blue.
**another update: I was just reading in the recent issue of Top Drinks (French publication) that the Summit is tapped as one of their top cocktail possibilities for 2009