Choosing Ernest Hemingway as a concept for your bar-restaurant may not be the most original idea but the archetypal He-Man is associated with so many locations – from the Spanish Civil War to hunting rhinos in the Serengeti – that he gives you plenty to play with. It’s ideal fodder to fill this sprawling 1920s-style golden teak house.
Arriving from the soi, you enter the Spanish Garden with its own fountain and lanterns in the trees, and proceed through various rooms themed according to episodes from the author’s life. The Havana Bar dispenses Hemingway’s favourite spirits in generous 45ml pours; the Key West Café is a large dining area with waxed teak floors, lots of plants and period lampshades styled after oil lamps.
Upstairs, a wide outdoor terrace leads to the Hideaway, modeled on Parisian apartments, and beyond is the Safari Sports Bar, a look-alike Serengeti drinking den, complete with bamboo poles to prop open the window, animal skin designs on the bar stools and lighting that flickers like nighttime candles.
Each room is separately themed using lighting and soundtracks ranging from ancient 1920s jazz to 50s Cuban; Satchmo and the Hot Five to Benny Moré.
We chose (very) dirty Tanqueray martinis from a long drink list (B195), including special cocktails (B220++) and beers from their own system served at a reliable minus-two degree. There are 20 or so wines (B1000-B2400++ a bottle), including eight by the glass (B150-B350).
The food menu moves from bar snacks – try the tasty and tender chilli salt-fried squid with Hemingway’s own tartar sauce (B165) – through soups, entrées and New York pizzas. Among the short list of mains are sea bass with Hemingway’s oyster and absinthe broth, steamed mussels and braised lettuce (B450) and grass-fed lava coal Australia grilled sirloin with sautéed kale, hand-cut chunky fries with a choice of sauce. Finish with a very more-ish butterscotch pot au cream with hazelnut praline (B200).
This is a classy venue with good drinks and upper-end pub grub. Just a stone’s throw from the MRT and Skytrain, it should thrive.
Sukhumvit Soi 14 | 02-653 3900 | www.hemingwaysbangkok.com 11:30am-late (kitchen closes 10:45pm) | BTS Asoke MRT Sukhumvit