Image this: You step right into a bar and sit on one of many excessive stools by the counter. You’re prepared to listen to the bartender rattle off particulars about their method, strategies and signature drinks, however as an alternative you’re handed a Rubik’s dice. “That is the menu,” you’re informed.
Although the standard paper menu just isn’t disappearing (regardless of QR codes’ greatest efforts), bars are actually betting on a brand new sort of format. Generally 3D, usually interactive, the brand new bar menu is extra in keeping with the sorts of conceptual cocktails that trendy bars are creating. Presentation issues—as seen within the rise of eye-catching foams and elaborate edible garnishes—and if we drink with our eyes first, it’s solely logical that the look of a menu would impression our expertise of the drink earlier than it even arrives.
In fact, the themed menu just isn’t new, however the displays have solely gotten extra immersive. And it’s not only a gimmick: For some bars, an experimental menu is a solution to convey the visitor into the method of constructing the cocktail, providing a extremely personalised expertise. At Bijou, in Mexico Metropolis, the aforementioned Rubik’s dice affords completely different traits (like “natural” or “bubbly”) in addition to completely different spirits. The way you “clear up” the dice dictates how bartenders will adapt a recipe. In the meantime, at Rayo, additionally in Mexico Metropolis, the drinks themselves function a menu. Bartenders place numbered small glass bottles—every full of a pattern of the bar’s 10 drinks—in entrance of visitors, who style them earlier than deciding what to order. For many who are likely to order the identical type of drink or the identical base spirit, it encourages a technique of discovery, slightly than a reliance on outdated standbys.
@monicagomezxo 📍BIJOU – this speakeasy has solely been open for two weeks and its similar to Handshake! Service was 10/10 and I cherished all the sweeter cocktails! 🍸 excellent for a date night time in Condesa after having dinner at La Capital! 😍 #cdmx #mexicocity #ciudaddemexico #cdmxlife #cdmxtiktok #speakeasy #speakeasybar ♬ Velocity Entice – theLMNOP
Different menus function a tactile dialog starter. At Anthill, a cocktail and tapas bar situated on the highest flooring of Gallerie d’Italia in Naples, the menu is available in a medication field. The listing—created by head bartender Anna Garruti to highlight basic drinks and signature cocktails associated to Neapolitan tradition—comes contained in the field, printed like the data leaflet that might are available in a package deal of Tachipirina, a neighborhood over-the-counter painkiller. The “tablets” inside are mints that visitors can take dwelling. “We wished to make a parody of one thing acquainted to everybody, taking it out of the context folks know,” says chef and proprietor Giuseppe Iannotti.
Generally, the basic paper menu has a number of tips up its sleeve, too. At Gold Bar in Tokyo, bar director Hideyuki Saito and his workforce developed a conceptual menu, named Two Faces. Every cocktail was designed to focus on the duality of life, with each drink theme complemented by its reverse—gentle and darkish, for instance, or energy and weak spot. Half of the drinks have their names and descriptions printed in common ink, and their counterparts will be seen when visitors shine a black gentle over the menu.
For instance, the menu lists Sa Sa Salsa Claro, a spicy cocktail made with tequila, habanero, golden tomato water and citrus and, as soon as the black gentle illuminates the web page, it reveals the Koke Koke Membership, which includes a refreshing mixture of sake, natural tea, coconut water and citrus. It’s a intelligent design that provides an additional dimension to the bargoer’s expertise.
“Innovation on menus is getting increasingly consideration,” says Saito. In accordance with him, it was solely a matter of time earlier than menus turned as elevated because the drinks on them. “The menu is the ticket to take visitors on their journey,” he says.