In homage to the great glitz of the flapper era, Sling Bar is unlike the other speakeasy bars in Bali. Sling Bar supervisor Gede Wisnu Wijaya tells why.
Though inspired by the secretive bars during Prohibition in the 1920s-1930s in the USA, speakeasy bars are out in the open now. In fact, they are de rigueur in so many hip and happening places, including Bali. While these days Bali sees speakeasy-influenced bars mushrooming – coming in a variety of sizes and concepts – nightcap hunters can agree that it was Sling Bar
that first initiated the snazzy flapper era idea on this previously Long Island ice tea-kind of island.
Go up the spiral staircase of The Plantation Grill Seminyak restaurant and you’ll find Sling Bar snugly ensconced on the mezzanine floor sharing similar features as the restaurant: intimate lighting, an elegant-yet-elusive art deco interior and an unrivalled overall dapper ambience. Staying true to the theme, Sling Bar even has a hidden boudoir, accessible through a secret door. It feels like you might run into Fitzgerald’s Jay Gatsby anytime soon.
Of course, whatever the theme, the most important question to ask is: how potent are the drinks? Sling Bar takes pride in its elaborate collection of the finest martini concoctions, dark spirits and its extensive whisky selection. Add to that the fact that all the talents manning the bar is trained to serve more than just drinks, but also a personalised experience for the patrons. We sat down and talked to Gede Wisnu Wijaya – known simply as Wisnu, the bar supervisor of Sling Bar, to get to know more about the bar life.
E: How did you find yourself working for one of the most prominent bars in Bali?
W: It was Tom Cruise’s movie, Cocktail, that first piqued my interest in bartending. I really got this feeling that I belonged behind the bar. I see bartending not as a job, but more like a passion – something I really like and am meant to do. I have been with Sling Bar since its opening day, and yes, this is what I like to do.
E: How would you describe the mixology trends these days and how do you apply them to Sling Bar?
W: The trend now is revisiting the forgotten cocktails, and at Sling Bar we tend to revolve around the classics anyway. We’re going back to the prohibition era of the 1920s that showcased great cocktails with simple ingredients – more “as it is”, but we try to incorporate a local touch in terms of ingredients and we also tweak them more to the guests’ personal liking. Bartenders at Sling Bar don’t only make and serve drinks, but we also have to know the background stories on the cocktails and the ingredients, and know how to communicate with the guests. To know which drink suits your guest best, you have to know how to host your guest first.
E: What’s the signature cocktail at Sling Bar?
W: I would say our barrel-aged coffee negroni. It’s a twist between coffee martini and negroni, which results in an intriguing and refreshing drink. We use local orange and we also blend and roast our own coffee, which makes all the difference.
E: What do you order whenever you go to any bar?
W: A negroni or an old-fashioned. If a bar does a good negroni or a good old-fashioned with the right balance, you can be sure the rest of the cocktails there are good!
E: What’s your goal for Sling Bar?
W: I’m going to maintain it as the best speakeasy bar in Bali, for sure!
- London dry gin
- Creme de mure
- Apricot brandy
- Fresh lemon
- Homemade raspberry sherbet
- A twist of local orange zest
Place dry gin, crème de mure, apricot brandy, fresh lemon and homemade raspberry sherbet into a cocktail shaker. Shake well. Strain into a classic martini glass and garnish with a twist of orange zest.