First, Dave Palethorpe. Then, Jorge Camilo. After that, Daniel Zamith. Later, Miguel Pereira. And finally, João Sancheira. Bistro 100 Maneiras’ bar isn’t just a beautiful wooden counter – even if this counter has an Art Déco cut… It’s a piece made of people, a lot of people who have mixed and emulsified with the house, with that bar, over these years.
The recipe that made it win important mixology prizes – the Coaster 2017 for Best Bar in a Restaurant in Portugal and the same title, in 2019, at Lisbon Bar Show Awards – doesn’t only involve spirits, juices, bitters, gums and broths. The formula that makes the success of this bar, identified in 2014 by the prestigious Monocle magazine as the perfect place to have a drink at the end of a day in Lisbon, is made of flesh and bone, blood, sweat and laughter (and ok, a few tears too).
Drinks to be eaten
In the months leading up to the opening of the restaurant, in September 2010, it was the British Dave Palethorpe, from Cinco Lounge bar, who created the first cocktail menu and formed the team who would be in charge of the counter in the number 9 of Largo da Trindade. But, quickly, our bar, this bar, freed itself from the “father” and, in its cry for independence, became a staple of the restaurant and one of the reasons Monocle chose Bistro 100 Maneiras for world number one at Monocle Restaurant Awards 2017 (and third in 2018!).
Much more than a simple extension of the restaurant, it is a space with its own prizes, recognized by the original creations that come from some of the heads that made (and make) it grow.
Bistro’s history will always include Jorge Camilo, at this counter from day one and head of the 100 Maneiras’ group bar until August 2021, and Daniel Zamith, bartender. Together, for nearly a decade, they were responsible for the bar’s success. In and out of doors. In addition to the cocktails served at the Bistro, they were the authors of around 100 recipes of the first great Portuguese cocktail book, 100 Cocktails 100 Maneiras, published in November 2015 by A Esfera dos Livros. They created these blends from scratch, most of them born in the moment, from the products they found in some of the places they traveled. Travels in our land, in search of the best national ingredients to create cocktails with a Portuguese soul.
In the book, the philosophy of Bistro’s bar became even more clear. Inside the glass, a gastronomic approach is made to classic mixology. Which means: many of the ingredients used in cocktails come from the kitchen. This blend-of-mixing-way has spawned creations that have become classics, such as 100 Maneiras Strong (with lemon, ginger and lemongrass in its composition) and 100 Maneiras Smooth & Easy (with coriander and pineapple), but also Red Hot Guava (with guava, chili and ginger), Hulk (basil and pepper) or Damn That’s Good (raspberries and peppermint), the undisputed bestseller. These are hallmarks of the cocktails by 100 Maneiras and a working base for virtually all Bistro’s creations. It is food in a liquid state. A world in colors, sometimes sweet, other times more acidic, but almost never bitter.
With the growing success of the bar, new faces arrived at this counter. Like Miguel Pereira, the youngest face of the bar, who in 2017 was distinguished as Young Talent of Gastronomy in the Barman INTER category and, in 2018, became a national finalist of the Chairman’s Mai Tai Competition.
Times change, wills change. And the manners, at this bar, remain. Because sometimes, more than a beginning, you have to start over. And so, in August 2021, after two years of pause, João Sancheira returns to this bar. The bartender from Caldas da Rainha, who had been part of the 100 Maneiras team between 2017 and 2019, takes on a new challenge: he becomes head bartender of the 100 Maneiras group. A position he accumulates with the title of Bartender of the Year 2021, after winning the national final of the World Class competition in the same year (and earning a place in the World Top 10).
He has big shoes to fill. Or deep glasses to toast. A history of more than 10 years between bottles, glasses, spoons and endless nights. Which literally gave origin to books – and movies, many of them, shot in our heads, shared between laughs and remembered at this counter. To continue recording, at the bar refurbished in 2018 with the support of Schweppes and the “brush” by Filipe Pinto Soares, without hesitation. Action!
The laboratory glasses, which refer to the alchemy of the creation of carbonated water, and the pieces of clocks that recall the watchmaker’s past of Johann Schweppe, founder of the company, are combined with the use of mirrors that provide an optical illusion of depth – similar to what was done at Hendrick’s Room.
To welcome the “new-born child“, the bartender team celebrated creating an unprecedented cocktails menu. Built from scratch from the memories of the various elements behind the counter, the new menu brings together over two dozen creations that appeal to all senses, carrying in each glass a story to be read, heard, smelled and shared. Drop by drop.
Between author creations, reinterpretations of classics and mandatory names, a trip to the Bistro’s Bar can begin in many ways – even one hundred of them – that’s for sure, but it will always end up the same way: with the glasses held high, in a toast to life’s small greatest pleasures.