Elegant cocktail bar mixes classic and innovation
Arch by Taste Buds’ location is easily missed on the northern section of Shaanxi Road away from the nightlife-centered community.
However, when inside, the well-designed spacious interior and a focus on independent craft spirits stands out.
On any given evening you can expect to sit back and sip crafted cocktails in an amiable atmosphere, either at the bar counter or an intimate table.
Mixologists Vincenzo Pagliara and Daniel An teamed up to create the sophisticated cocktail bar which mixes innovation and classic with a strong focus on pairing with food.
“We believe the area is upcoming with different bars and restaurants opening,” Pagliara said.
The design of the bar is multifaceted — a futuristic lab with a rotovap dedicated to building their own cocktail components, an aperitivo bar at the entrance reflecting an Italian look, and a long bar to observe the theatrical bartending and speedy service.
Cocktails are the essence of Arch, with an enticing selection of well-designed recipes.
“Innovation in cocktails, for my point of view, is something difficult nowadays,” Pagliara said.
“I believe innovation is how to make something look and taste simple, by using new ways of presenting flavors.”
There’s a lot to love about the cocktail menu and its modern takes on the classics.
Olive Oil as my first choice was a sparkling cocktail made with tequila as main base, with olive oil liqueur (a distillation of olive oil and gin) and roasted tomato water. It had a strong Mediterranean taste but was clean and smooth.
Another favorite of mine, Beetroot, is more complex and earthy. They distilled Campari with slow cook beetroot, and then added vodka, some citric acid and a mix of chamomile and marigold. You expect to receive a red-colored drink but due to the distillation process it’s a clear liquid yet the taste is concentrated.
Herbal ingredients such as turmeric, ginseng, coriander, beetroot, basil are creatively used in the recipes.
Under the watchful eye of Italian native Pagliara, the kitchen turns out plate after plate of house-made pasta that surprised me with its authenticity.
You can try different types of pasta such as bucatini, orecchiette, paccheri and gnocchi served al dente.
The quality of their pasta is probably better than most of the Italian restaurants in town.
Other bar snacks like deep-fried ox tripe and slow cooked octopus are perfect to pair with the drinks.
Opening hours: 2pm-3am
Address: 688 Shaanxi Rd N.
Average price: 160 yuan