Venetian ‘bacari’ inspire new spritz bar from Polpo team

cynar bar

The backstreet bars of Venice have inspired a new bar that has opened next to Polpo at Ape & Bird in London’s West End.

Russell Norman and Richard Beatty have unveiled The Spritz Bar which will specialise in serving Italian artichoke-based liqueur Cynar and the signature Cynar Spritz.

It will also offer drinks that are popular at other Polpo sites, including the Aperol Spritz, Campari Spritz and Negroni.

Created in the 1950s, Cynar can often be found behind the bars of Venice’s backstreet bars called “bacari”. The classic Venetian serve is a shot of Cynar topped with young Italian soave, a splash of seltz and a green olive, finished with a slice of lemon.

Russell and Richard were inspired by the unpretentious drinking and dining culture of backstreet Venetian bars when they opened the first Polpo restaurant in Soho in 2009, serving uncomplicated small plates and spritzes.

They have introduced traditional variations on the spritz at the restaurants by creating the Campari Bar at Polpo in Soho, the Aperol Bar at Polpo in Covent Garden and the Negroni Bar at Polpo in Smithfield.

Russell said: “Drinking Spritz in Venice is one of my favourite things to do. Although gondolas don’t tend to float along Shaftesbury Avenue and there’s no view of the Rialto Bridge across Cambridge Circus, sipping Cynar at 5pm in the new Spritz Bar seems like a very civilised thing to do.”

The copper-topped bar sits on red-and-white checkered tiling and is lit by large pendant lamps hanging from the tarnished pressed metal ceiling. Surrounding the bar on the textured walls are blackboards displaying daily specials and cocktails, while bottles are stored in wooden box-crates.

Guests at The Spritz Bar can enjoy Spritz O’Clock between 4pm and 6pm daily when cocktails will be priced at £5.

The Spritz Bar is next to Polpo at Ape & Bird, which serves cicchetti dishes, such as crab arancini and fried stuffed olives, and sharing plates such as grilled lamb, caponata and basil, spicy pork and fennel meatballs, and zucchini, parmesan and basil salad.

Pizzas are cooked in a hand-built, wood-fired, Forno Bravo pizza oven, which include buffalo mozzarella, tomato and basil, pork shoulder and pickled pepper, and spinach, parmesan and soft egg.

Picture is a stock image of Cynar in a bar from owner Campari Group.

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