Journey Around The World At Barcelona’s Most Opulent Bar
Barcelona may be known for its long, laid-back happy hours centered around Spanish favourites tapas and sangria, though consumers’ curiosity around craft cocktails is growing – and the city is taking notice. For a thought-provoking ‘liquid journey’, head to P41, Barcelona’s most exciting and innovative cocktail bar, located inside the prestigious Hotel Arts.
Few have mastered the art of luxury like the Ritz Carlton, and their Barcelona property is no exception. The Hotel Arts first opened its doors back in 1994 and immediately made waves in the city’s hospitality scene. Not only was the new property the tallest building in all of Barcelona, but it was also one of the sleekest.
The building’s 44 stories are situated on the shores of the turquoise Mediterranean, easily identifiable by its scaffolding-influenced design. The hotel is comprised of 483 rooms, including 56 executive suites, 28 duplex penthouses, numerous restaurants, contemporary art sculptures, and, of course, its signature cocktail bar, P41.
P41 officially opened in February 2018 under the direction of Food & Beverage Director, Romain Mejecaze. “[Romain] saw a fantastic bar and talented staff, yet wanted to flip it and change the concept,” says Diego Baud, P41’s Head Mixologist.
The bar derives its name from the latitude at which Barcelona is located, 41°N. The bar pays homage to the city’s unique location, with all signature cocktails created around other cities situated at this same latitude, highlighting their signature ingredients.
“Our cocktail menu is made up of ‘boarding passes,’ featuring flavours from across the globe on parallel 41°,” explains Baud. “Our mission is to make you feel that once you have entered our bar, you no longer need a passport, for this is a bar without borders.”
Baud further notes that the bar’s end goal is to transport each guest to a specific cocktail’s location, using flavours, aromas and intricate presentations.
“We believe that guests who enter P41 do so because they inherently want a disconnection from the norm,” says Baud. “It’s all about the experience and being able to share that. The real beauty lies within a personalized liquid experience for each guest.”
Taoxian, China, is one of the few cities highlighted on P41’s unique ‘boarding pass’ style drinks list. The cocktail crafted in its honour, the Smokin’ Razz, highlights Lapsang Souchong, the most prevalent tea in Chinese haute cuisine. Baud uses the tea to create a smoky simple syrup, which is then mixed with locally produced Gin Raw, fresh lime juice, egg white, and fresh raspberries.
Another cocktail currently featured on the list, My Heart Beets For You, pays homage to the Island of Honshu, situated at 41° 140’19”N. Here, Japanese Gin is shaken with earthy beetroot juice, ginger, and patchouli, garnished with a fresh oyster. The Abuelo Mojito, a riff on the famed classic cocktail, pays homage to Tarragona and all of its local ingredients.
Fresh mint, muddled lime and sugar are replaced with dried mint from P41’s private garden, which is used to create mint-infused rum. Sugar is replaced with homemade chamomile honey syrup, finished with lime juice, a splash of soda, and garnished with fresh mint.
Baud was originally drawn to Barcelona for its culture, edginess, and international renown. “I’ve worked in London and Portland and they never quite felt like a good fit, there was always something I felt was missing from the puzzle. P41 helped open that part of the puzzle for me,” he says.
Mejecaze immediately put full trust in Baud, as well as his bar manager, to create and execute the concept behind P41. Baud credits his parents, as well as the handful of chefs he’s worked with, for much of the inspiration behind his unique drink creations. Though creating thought-provoking cocktails isn’t as easy as it may seem.
“Some ideas come to you overnight and some take weeks upon end to fester, yet this whole process keeps me engaged,” he says.
And when it comes to creating an ideal bar ambiance, Baud finds that engaging music, warm lighting, and curated art, as well as a creative cocktail list, are all key. “A great cocktail bar [should be] a place where as soon as you enter, you have an immediate and overwhelming sensation of comfort,” he says.
At P41, boundaries are pushed, limits are stretched, and guests are taken outside of their comfort zone. “That is our happy place as bartenders, when we are crafting new and innovative liquid journeys, having that passenger upfront with us, jaw-dropped, lips pursed, eyes popping out of their heads like they want to jump over the bar and into our shaker.”
(All images: P41 / supplied)
Published 30 August, 2019