Up in the clouds sits AER Mumbai, the city’s highest sky bar, offering unparalleled views and exquisite serves. We speak with Alexandre Renoue, Beverage Manager, Radhika Mathur, Marketing Communications Manager, and Noel Mendes, Food and Beverage Manager at AER Mumbai, who offer insight into the venue’s innovative cocktail menu and their equally exceptional food offerings, revealing the qualities that have moulded AER into Mumbai’s go-to bar.
Please tell our readers about AER bar at Four Seasons Mumbai.
[Radhika] AER is Mumbai’s most iconic rooftop bar, and has recently been reinvented with a stunning new design as a yacht club in the sky, with a sparkling new cocktail menu. It has always been favoured by the city’s elite as a venue of choice for special dates, the hottest parties in town, or get-togethers aimed to impress. The refreshed energies further fuel the unique bestseller cocktail of the city’s best views, beverages, design and vibe, as an easy way for AER to stand out against the unending competition in the city. Equipped with many ‘firsts’ such as being the country’s first rooftop bar with a highly sophisticated retractable roof, further aids in adapting to the ever-evolving maximum city, Mumbai.
Talk us through AER’s cocktail menu. What was the inspiration/story behind this? And tell us more about the ‘nature-themed’ names.
[Alexandre] The star of AER is and will always be the brilliant views of the Arabian Sea and Mumbai’s shimmering skyline. A brainchild of Corsica-born Alexandre Renoue, the cocktail menu at AER was crafted using the city of Mumbai and the views from the bar as the ultimate muse. Alex has identified unique Indian ingredients and treated them to international beverage industry processes to craft drinks, which represent the different moods of the sky, as viewed from the 34th floor at AER.
The journey starts with ‘Clear Skies’, which consists of low-alcohol value clarified drinks, ‘Cumulus’, featuring cloudy textures and more layered flavours, and continues to ‘Monsoon’, which is an ode to the rainy season of Mumbai with fresh aromas and ingredients. The journey ends with ‘Thunderheads’, a list of potent, darker cocktails with a robust palate mirroring the dark storms often visible from the roof at AER.
For each cocktail, we have used the nautical theme lent by the design to craft names which best describe their character. For example, the ‘Compass Rose’ from ‘Clear Skies’ is a great place to start, with the ‘Foghorn’ from ‘Thunderheads’ alerting one to the potency of the cocktail. What’s special is that each category also has one non-alcoholic cocktail for those who would like to indulge in the experience without yielding to alcohol.
What is the relationship between the food and drinks offerings at AER Mumbai, and how did you curate this exceptional edible menu?
[Noel] While the focus at AER is the spectacular beverage menu, it is essential to have a food menu to complement it. The menu is an eclectic selection of international flavours which reflect the refined palate of the guests who frequent AER, without overpowering the crisp notes of the cocktails. Think, the zest of truffle and three cheeses of a sumptuous Kachapuri, a traditional Georgian flatbread, which elevates the experience. The curation of this menu has also taken into account culinary trends, such as the growing demand for vegetarian and vegan options, as well as paying homage to the coast, with the catch of the day showcased in different ways.
How does the bar’s geographical location influence its menu?
[Radhika] The sea and sky hold integral roles in the inspiration behind the menus, and Indian ingredients, along with the rich culinary heritage, lies proudly at the core of the curation. This leads to a highly refined selection where you are brought closer to the city of Mumbai with every sip, and every bite.
Apart from the exceptional food and drinks offerings, how else do you ensure an exceptional and unforgettable experience for guests?
[Noel] Much like the views that AER is known for, the ambience and vibe here also transition seamlessly across three different seating areas. With a sundown seating catering best to niche clients who entertain guests over refined cocktails, to the ideal date night venue with food, music, lighting and of course drinks to match. Nights at AER hold character of their own and transition into the hottest nightlife destination post 10pm. With a resident DJ spinning the freshest tunes and regular visiting Indian and international musical acts, the rooftop bar creates a memorable experience for guests unlike any venue in the city.
How do you stay current and up to date with trends in an ever-changing industry?
[Alexandre] The team of experts who work behind the curation of food and beverage menus at AER have created a menu which lends itself to reinvention on a regular basis. With seasonal changes scheduled for the coming months, the bar is set to stay trendy and to keep regular guests engaged. The same philosophy extends into the long run, where the extensive renovation after a successful 10 years of operations as an iconic rooftop bar creates a brand-new outlet, while retaining the successes from before.
What are the bar’s short and long-term goals?
[Radhika] For AER, the goal is to be the place to be in Mumbai, and in India with it featuring on must-visits for the city, while featuring on global lists of best bars and continually refreshing our offering. The aim is to extend our loyal clientele from across the country to across the globe.