Unless stated otherwise, the drinks in these reviews are paid for by the venue.
A needle in a haystack or a diamond in the rough – however you want to phrase it, don’t just walk by, walk in. This is a place you want to experience.
Oasis lies within
From the outside Strøm Bar doesn’t look like much. Inhabiting the same locale occupied by the Bloomsday Bar until 2012, heavy red curtains are pretty much all you can see through windows that are as close to the pavement as they can possibly be. Even so, you have to walk through a small iron gate and down a flight of stairs to get to the bar. It doesn’t have a big flashy sign – definitely the kind of place you might just walk right by and miss.
But that would be a terrible shame. Because tucked away behind that door lies a small oasis. Lush leather sofas line the walls, and opposite the small dark wooden tables are rustic metal chairs. The place emanates that laid-back, quiet atmosphere you long for after a hard day’s work.
Gin slings with Gatsby
The walls are painted an intense green and several posters hang on them – among them a a cover of Vogue and a poster of ‘The Great Gatsby’ – altogether giving the place a 1930s feel, like this is an old jazzhouse during the Prohibition era. It’s no surprise to learn that the founders were inspired by the art deco movement of the 1920s and 30s in European cities, which embodied sophistication, luxury and class.
Soft lighting and non-invasive pop music in the background, and a ton of lighted candles – from the tables to the bathroom – complete the effect. An old typewriter sits on the windowsill, waiting for F Scott Fitzgerald to return, or should that be Ernest Hemingway?
Even the bartender oozes relaxation with an easy smile, quietly singing along to the slow tunes, greeting you with a pleasant hello and a glass of ice-cold water to prepare you for your assault on the cocktails.
The bar’s cocktail card lists just 12 different cocktails, with the drinks carefully selected and the entire menu revamped every three months, along with some cocktails on tap – still one of the only bars in town to offer this.
And if you can’t choose between the ‘Tesla’ (gin, manzanilla sherry, sicilian olive oil, agave syrup, fresh lime, egg white), the ‘Enzoni’ (gin, campari, white wine, fresh lemon, sugar) or the intriguingly-named ‘the.godfather.dvd-rip.xvid’ (four roses small batch bourbon, almond, averna sicilian amaro, rubosto coffee oil) – we went for all three! – the bartender is more than happy to help pinpoint the drink most to your taste with a couple of easy questions.
Behind the wooden bar, we then watch as the bartender prepares the cocktails with great dedication and attention, and rest assured, this is a drink that will put a smile on your face and contribute to a great evening.
The cocktails not only look amazing, but also taste delicious we decide, luxuriating on the leather sofas in the relaxed, intimate atmosphere.