When hotel brands like Waldorf Astoria launch in the new city, they’s usually a lot of hype as they almost always introduce stellar food and drink concepts alongside their established hospitality precepts. Waldorf Astoria Bangkok‘s cocktail den and champagne bar appeared on our radar when it scored two runner up spots at The Bar Awards Bangkok 2019 in the Rooftop Bar and Hotel Bar categories. The Loft also came in behind Liberation and 008 in vying for New Bar of the Year.
Located on the 56th floor, the glittering Bangkok night-time cityscape through floor-to-ceiling windows provides an impressive backdrop to the glamorous interiors. Rose gold accents accompany Art Nouveau chandeliers and marble table tops – perfect for fancy date nights or a sophisticated night out. We like the cosy little private rooms that line the corridor that leads to the main bar and lounge area.
For inspiration, Bar Manager Michele Montauti went back to the tome “The Old Waldorf Astoria Bar Book” written in 1935 by historian Albert Stevens Crockett, to a time when the Waldorf in New York catered to robber barons and the nouveau riche. The menu covers the types of cocktails served at the Waldorf in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, with categories like ‘Fizzes and Sours’, which is where we found our first drink.
A refreshing thirst quencher perfect for absolving Bangkok’s unforgiving heat, Floradora (THB 460) gets its fruity complexity from ingredients like Spanish raspberry-based MOM gin, cassis liquor, and lime juice. Instead of using blueberry syrup as in The Old Waldorf Astoria Bar Book, Montauti opts for native mulberry. The milder flavour allows the other ingredients to shine equally; we particularly like the soft ginger glow of a finish.
Next is something from the Signature Cocktails section, a collection of drinks created by the bar team that have become favourites since The Loft’s opening. Illusion (THB 460) reminds us of Hong Kong’s Room 309, where colour is removed so the palate gets the first say in the experience. The star in this cocktail is the house-made pandan vanilla soda, which is made with leftovers from the kitchen like used vanilla pods and pandan root, the vanilla tempers the vegetal character of pandan and bridges the floral flavour of Hendrick’s gin with lemongrass syrup and peach liquor. A must if you enjoy slightly carbonated drinks that don’t compromise on flavour.
For something more spirit forward yet easy to drink, we’ve got two relatively straightforward options. Desire (THB 460), a signature cocktail that’s about to get listed on the menu. Rose vermouth matches the sweetness of tequila reposado while also bringing out its tartness while lime lends acidity to the dry finish. Bergamot syrup, thankfully, features mostly on the nose. Waldorf (THB 480), on the other hand, is a riff on the Old Fashioned, Michter’s bourbon and sweet vermouth get a lift from Thai basil and cardamom maple syrup. Chocolate bitters adds the final touch of velvety bitterness.
Hungry? While The Loft doesn’t skimp on quality bar snacks by presenting marinated olives and peanuts at the table, folks looking for more substantial bites will find oysters and caviar, cheese and charcuterie, and hot plates on the food menu. Though we would have preferred a rougher chop of the well-seasoned Beef Tartare (THB650), the kitchen certainly delivers on the sauces, like the incredibly moreish smoked Sriracha sauce in the Tiger Prawn Cocktail (THB750) and the tobiko aioli featured in the brioche-sandwiched Lobster Roll (THB1,250).