As the Oyster Club advocates, it is absolutely essential to mix business with pleasure. When you are an international jet setter, it is important to know you will be able to find a home-from-home cocktail haunt in a new town. Here are a few of my favourite locations. Be sure to look them up when you are in the appropriate city – you won’t be disappointed.
Equinox -This bar is on the 69th floor of the Swissotel and gives panoramic views over the city – glorious at night time. It is populated by the beautiful people of Singapore and is very civilised, in keeping with their culture of discretion and reserve. If you feel that this might be a little demure for your tastes, you can always visit the Long Bar, next door at Raffles and indulge in a Singapore Sling – rude not to! It is a little touristy but has a quirky party atmosphere, accentuated by the old colonial practice of throwing the shells of the monkey nuts provided on the floor. This practice can get a little out of hand towards closing time.
For good service: Despite 15% service charge going on the bill, that money goes to the government, not the staff. Most people are unaware of this, so they don’t tip. Add a few extra Singapore dollars and you will be remembered favourably.
The View Bar – Another roof top location with the best views over the most desirable real estate in town, frequented by wealthy Brazilians. The terrace has a glorious water feature, giving the illusion that the overflow cascades down onto the city below. It is a very romantic setting and a favourite trysting place for lovers.
For good service: Flirt outrageously (yes, you too, gentlemen). Love is in the air and you may as well join in.
The Sky View Bar – Burj Al Arab. I’ve included this one for the bling factor. I have honestly never seen such an exuberance of glitz and glitter and suspect they must have hired the late Liberace’s wardrobe mistress as a design consultant. However, it is THE place to be seen in Dubai and you have to make reservations well in advance, to be admitted. The views are actually better during the day, here, as you can gaze out over the Arab Gulf Sea, which is very restful.
For good service: The service is, impeccable. The Burj is, after all, the only (unofficially) rated seven star hotel in the world. To receive even more exceptional service, you may need to take out a small bank loan for your gratuity…
70 Living: If you like people watching whilst enjoying an excellent standard of cocktail, this bar restaurant overlooking lovely San Telmo, is hard to beat. There is a pretty outside terrace, which catches the sun’s final rays in early evening and, as the sultry rhythms of the bossa nova float on the breeze, you’d think you were in a scene from Tango, though, sadly Antonio Banderas never put in an appearance when I was there. However, the Porteños are very gregarious, so don’t be surprised if you are invited to take a few spins around the terrace, should you leave your seat.
For good service: Engage with your barista. Argentinians are very friendly and are not at all put off by any language barrier. Make an effort to talk to them and they will look after you.
Home of the martini, the Big Apple boasts a myriad of excellent cocktail bars but my favourite is upstairs in the restaurant Tao on 42 East 58th Street, Manhattan. The restaurant is famous for the 16ft Buddha, which reaches past the first floor balcony, casting its serene gaze upon each guest. Featured in Sex in the City, the restaurant is a favourite with celebrities such as Nicole Kidman and Robert De Niro. The bar is reached via a suspended catwalk, which can be seen throughout the restaurant, so make sure you’ve got your strut going on for your fifteen seconds of fame.
For good service: Like it or not, 20% tipping is an established part of the New York culture. Ignore this point of etiquette at your peril.
I couldn’t close without saying that Tanya’s Cosmopolitan’s rival those of a New York Barrista. However, do imbibe with care, as after my second I was slightly numb from the upper lip down and had to pay careful attention to remaining perched on my stool in an elegant fashion.
In a previous incarnation Felicity Lerouge was an hôtesse de l’air (much nicer than ‘cabin crew’, don’t you think?) and was privileged to fly all over the world, enjoying herself at the airline’s expense. And, no, she doesn’t still have the uniform, in case you’re wondering. She has now grown up and become a demure, responsible author, key note speaker, corporate trainer and coach… at least that’s what it says on her CV.