Bar review: St Regis Bar in Macau – a slice of the Big Apple in Cotai
Plush surroundings, a bundle of Bloody Marys, bespoke cocktails made by knowledgeable bartenders, and impeccable service make this a must-visit
The vibe: the latest five-star hotel to open on Macau’s Cotai Strip, the St Regis comes with a notable pedigree – it’s descended from one of New York’s most iconic hotels, opened by the Astor family in 1904 and boasting one of the world’s most famous bars, the Old King Cole Bar.
The Macau bar has all the quiet luxury you’d expect, done in soft purple and earth tones with comfortable leather or plush seats and deep pile carpet. Each St Regis bar features a unique mural – here, it’s a spectacular affair of painted glass and LED lighting by Portuguese artist Gil Araujo. Impeccably trained staff hit the right balance between friendliness and courtesy.
The drinks: when the drinks list is a leather-bound book containing a veritable library of cocktails, spirits and wine and the bartender comes and explains the drinks to you, you know you’re in a place where the art of drinking is taken seriously.
The St Regis New York claims to have invented the Bloody Mary in 1934. (Many other bars also claim this.) Each St Regis creates its own version and the complete list is on offer in Macau, from the daddy of them all (under its original name, The Red Snapper) to versions from Mexico based on tequila and mescal. Macau’s version, Maria do Leste (Mary of the East, 108 patacas), has tomato juice spiced with cinnamon, black vinegar, pink peppercorns and black pepper. Grey Goose vodka, lemon, lime and additional spices are served on the side so you can add your own finishing touches. A genuinely inventive take on a classic, the cinnamon and black vinegar add a subtle Macanese note as does the tasty snack of chorizo and savoury egg tart which comes with the drink.
Carpe Diem (Mixologist’s Choice) is a smart idea – you tell the bartender what you like and he creates a bespoke cocktail for you. The result in my case was a sumptuous Negroni (138 patacas) made with ultra-premium Monkey 47 Gin, Martini Rosso and Campari and served in a glass smoked with cinnamon sticks with house-made dehydrated orange slices on the side.
Happy Hour here is happy indeed, with two for one deals which, unlike those in so many bars, don’t skimp on either servings or quality. The dry, beautifully balanced Mimosa was generously poured, prettily decorated and a steal at 68 patacas for two.
The verdict: true class. Delicious drinks and flawless service at far lower prices than you’d pay in Hong Kong. Worth the journey, as they say in the Michelin Guide, especially for Bloody Mary connoisseurs.
Level One, St Regis Macao, Cotai Central, Macau
Tel: +853 8113 3700
Open: Monday to Sunday noon-1am; happy hour: 5.30pm-7.30pm.