With the city’s nightlife reaching new, uncharted highs, hotel bars have started looking increasingly redundant: gone, the days when they were the center of expat high jinx and riotous nights of tabletop dancing. Of course, some have fared better than others, but for the most part they’ve become strictly the watering trough of itinerant businessmen and passing tourists. In short, not the places in which you’d like to linger. The Long Bar, however, looks set to break the formbook.
More a lifestyle choice than it is a hotel brand, it helps of course that’s in the Raffles Hotel – after all, it’s human nature to crave to be seen somewhere that’s the cream of the crop. And have no doubt, that’s what this spot is: decked out with smooth marble, natural oak, striking art and soft tan leather, it’s a venue that writes a new chapter in the 160-year story of this venerable building.
Luxurious while never being excessive or ostentatious, there’s a calming sense of class that feels elegant yet relaxed: expensive, yes, prohibitive, no. Intuitive service, sophisticated drinks and an interior that feels timeless yet historic in equal measure – immediately, you know it’s a bar that’s destined to work.
Said to have been invented in 1915 by Hainanese bartender Ngiam Tong Boon, few drinks can claim to be as iconic as the Singapore Sling. Coined in the Long Bar of the original Raffles Hotel, and subsequently immortalized in literature and film, it’s just about the most celebrated cocktail found anywhere in the world.
Somerset Maugham, Noel Coward, Rudyard Kipling: think of the Sling and it’s them many think of – sat on rattan chairs, mopping their brows and sweating into hankies. Though inexorably associated with flouncy British toffs, the Sling was actually first targeted at their accompanying better halves. With the colonial etiquette of the epoch dictating that females couldn’t drink alcohol in public, barman Boon sought to create a ladies’ drink that could be mistaken for a fruit punch but was really infused with gin and liqueur. Hey presto, the Singapore Sling was born. Well-suited to the sticky, tropical heat of Singapore, it became a cult sensation embraced by both genders.
And with Raffles now present on the Warsaw market, no more do cocktail fans need make do with pale imitations of the classic Singapore Sling. But more than just the original, visitors to the local version of The Long Bar also have nine other interpretations from which to choose: among them, the Warsaw Sling (zł. 48), a smooth, refreshing drink composed of Tanqueray No. 10, quince, gingerbread, pineapple, lemon and orange – dangerously drinkable, it’s arguably the finest cocktail debut of the year thus far.
The Long Bar
ul. Krakowskie Przedmieście 13, raffles.com/warsaw