Bartenders have it hard these days. A signature drink is a must for the in-crowd craving novelty, yet most patrons aren’t willing to venture too far out of their comfort zone, resulting in endless variations of trendy classics like the mule or gin and tonic.
But mixology is so much more than adding aromatic infusions to popular drinks. Andreas Trattner, who previously managed the rooftop bar of the 25hours hotel, decided to prove that last December when he opened Salopp, a cozy-yet-classy dive that takes experimenting to another level. You won’t find mojitos or martinis here; instead Salopp forces you to take a chance with unusual combinations like gin and parmesan, tequila with chestnuts and other creations, all presented in exceptional ways. It is not everyday that you get your drink in a teapot or a cauldron.
Although Salopp may seem posh and exclusive at first, it manages to balance stylish and relaxed, attracting all ages and backgrounds, from businessfolk to casually dressed couples. The dark wooden interior, brown leather furniture and warm lighting complemented with candles creates an easy atmosphere that still maintains a sophisticated feel. A gigantic mural of a marble maze is painted on one wall, adding a quirky touch. Salopp’s greatest asset, however, may be its prime location: about five minutes away from Schottenring, its enormous bay windows offer a beautiful view over the gothic church Maria am Gestade and picturesque Passauer Platz.
A decent crowd was in attendence for a weekday, conversing over top-40s music. Over the course of the evening, more and more barflies stopped by for a nightcap, and Trattner greeted everyone with a warm smile on his face.
Once you’re settled in, a bartender serves a small bowl of popcorn and glasses of tap water. Their drinks menu focuses more on quality than quantity, but I was still none the wiser after ten minutes: each drink sounded more intriguing than the last. Finally, my friends and I asked the man behind the bar himself. Andreas Trattner took the time for a quick chat and recommended “Storm under the Cloud:” Talisker Storm whiskey, hibiscus tea, grapefruit cordial and lime foam combined into a rose-colored concoction with a unique smoky aftertaste. We enjoyed every sip, but my personal favorite was the peach-colored “Velvet Underground:” raspberry eau de vie, hibiscus syrup, lime juice and dry tonic water.
Prone to reminiscing, Trattner treated us to several anecdotes to go with our drinks. Their first original cocktail was the outstanding “Cheese Selection,” a mix of gin and parmesan that resulted from somewhat random experimentation with some cheese from a supermarket. With inspiration striking nearly out of nowhere, Trattner and his team brought made it work after a few tries. The exceptional “Storm under the Cloud” was actually created for the World Class 2015 competition, where it indeed managed to make it into the finals. Listening to the stories behind the drinks made them even more special, like being introduced to a new friend.
The mixture of warm hospitality combined with extraordinary flavors and the casual atmosphere definitely makes Salopp a winner. Anyone who wants to take their taste buds for a ride should certainly stop by. But be quick! Trattner plans to stay open only until May 2018, though he may be persuaded to keep going.
SALOPP BAR 1., Passauer Platz 2, 0664 5782007, Mon-Sun: 18:00–2:00, salopp.at