The Classicist: The New Ritz-Carlton Bar Experience
The Ritz-Carlton is rolling out a new "Bar Experience" at its luxurious properties worldwide, building on a tradition of elegant cocktails and catering to a new generation of patrons. Where once such bars were once noted for their high-end singles scenes and some serious drinking, the company's latest research shows they are now primarily visited by those more interested in socializing with friends and colleagues, and hence food is increasingly important. So is the whole concept of "comfort" as opposed to ostentation. The new Ritz-Carlton bar experience includes both new cocktails, new appetizers and even edible cocktails. The impeccable service remains as always.
The new bar menu features gourmet comfort food meant for sharing among a group. The final menu includes 30 snazzy snacks such as brie and parsley risotto balls, smoked salmon and arugula egg rolls, chilly water lobster flat bread and calamari in remoulade sauce. Each Ritz-Carlton property features a selection of these 30 in addition to some local specialties. The idea behind the whole project is to reinvigorate and reposition the brand, eliminating the "illusion of rigidity" and prohibitive priciness the luxe chain may have given off in the past and "creating a nice environment where you feel comfortable" in the bars and lounges.
We went down to the elegant bar at 2 West at the amazing Ritz-Carlton Battery Park in New York City to experience it firsthand the other night and got extremely comfortable, so we would say it's definitely working. On the cocktail front, among our favorites was the Sunsplash, made with Grey Goose L'Orange vodka, Cointreau, fresh lemon and orange juice, and cranberry. Another standout was the Ritz-Carlton Martini, made with Tanqueray No. 10 gin, simple syrup, peeled English cucumber, mint and lime juice. Food-wise we particularly enjoyed the Italian spicy sausage and artichoke pizza, the mini Black Angus beef sliders, and the plate of artisanal cheeses served with quince paste, honey comb and chutney.
Gallery: New Ritz-Carlton Bar Experience
After sampling everything profusely we retired to a suite upstairs at the Ritz-Carlton Battery Park, the only luxury waterfront hotel in Manhattan, to get a feel for its recently-completed $10 million renovation. The close-up views of the Statue of Liberty are striking. The décor is modern without the coldness that sometimes accompanies over-designed interiors, serene and relaxing. Bulgari bath products, Frette linens on the enormous, ultra-luxe bed , HD flat screen TVs, rich hardwood dressers and a well-curated art collection were just some of the standout features. The only thing we really hated was having to check out.