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The Raffles Hotel is colonial Singapore. Opened 1887, it has been the mainstay of imperial stature and architecture in the region. I love visiting classic hotels while traveling; especially when these hotels have famous cocktails like the Singapore Sling. I find the colonial hotels in southeast Asia really pique my interest. While the ideal of oppressive imperialism turns my stomach, the romanticized notion really gets me going. Living in relative luxury, overseeing your “enterprise” – and in this scenario, “your enterprise” is the pillaging of the land and the enslavement of the people. But I digress.
A major renovation has closed the Raffles Hotel. It is slated to reopen again in the first half of 2019. Obviously that didn’t work for me. I was fortunate enough that the fine Raffles folks opened a PopUp Shop next to their hotel. Of course I had to stop by.
The PopUp has a limited menu, consisting of only five items, two of which are alcohol-free. The Long Bar at the Raffles Hotel is known for the Singapore Sling, which they invented. This cocktail cost 31SGD or 22USD, which is outrageously expensive for this cocktail. I still ordered it, but I didn’t order a water as the tiny bottles were 14SGD OR $10USD. I’m usually not a cheapskate, but these prices are extreme.
The Original Singapore Sling was phenomenal, despite the crippling price. I debated on ordering a second but, after working all day on Tuesday, traveling 23.5 hours, sleeping a bit and having a full first night ahead of me, I decided to stick to just one Original Singapore Sling.
I enjoyed the cocktail and when / if I am back in Singapore, I will grab another one at the proper bar in the renovated hotel.
Do you like hitting up classic hotels and trying their famous cocktails? Have you visited Raffles before? Aren’t these prices nuts?
We are so fortunate to have the world’s first and only Michelin Starred Brew Pub just meters from our home. Band of Bohemia opened in 2016 in the Ravesnwood neighborhood on the northside of Chicago. While it did receive (and has kept) their single Star, don’t think that makes this place stuffy or reserved for only special occasions. I find myself popping over for a drink on the way home quite regularly.
They are a proper brew pub that produces their own beers which are paired perfectly with the food offerings, but they’ve also got a great cocktail crew who rotates some great seasonal offerings while retaining the basic skills needed to make any drink your heart desires. Their wine team is also on point pairing an eclectic selection with their fare. I’ve had a couple great dry Austrian selections recently here too.
And for those of you who need a great cup of coffee, they’ve even got a coffee sommelier. I’m not a coffee guy at all, but the coffee somm is a really great guy who can talk about the wines, spirits and coffee all day. I love bellying up to the coffee bar and getting cocktails after work.
We hosted some friends a bit ago and wanted to show off this neighborhood gem. Snagging a Friday night reservation was a bit tough considering I didn’t plan too far ahead. A quick email directly to the resto, not through their booking app netted me my coveted spot. Never think that 1) The availability outlined in the booking apps are always accurate and 2) Don’t underestimate the value of being a regular patron.
We opted to indulge in the current tasting menu plus the house made beer pairings. The five course menu was full of seasonal perfection.
I completely forgot to snap a picture of the main dessert, but I’m not a big dessert guy and I really enjoyed the Thai Lime Pie. Swing by just for That!
My favorite course actually was the Carmelle Pasta. The asparagus was so light and spring refreshing inside an amazingly delicate pasta. I really wanted a large (family sized???) portion. Maybe next time.
Band of Bohemia occupies an old warehouse space on Ravenswood Avenue. The expertly renovated space is curated with classic furniture and design elements. It is such a welcoming space, I just love popping over for a quick one after work and relaxing with the amazing staff and a splendid cocktail. It feels strange(ly wonderful) for your local pub to be Mechelin rated.
Have you dined at Band of Bohemia before? What is your favorite local brew pub?