Foodie Collection, the team behind gourmand hotspots Vesper, il Fumo, 80/20, and more are back with another exciting Silom-area staple to check out. Nestled next to the Vesper Cocktail Bar we’ve come to know and love, 1919 brings to the area a refreshing oomph of suave-meets-casual, offering South Sathorn dwellers the perfect after-office drinks spot they never knew they needed.
Filled with character and anecdotal charm, the name pays ode to the year 1919 — when a certain Italian noble, Count Camillo Negroni, visited a bar and asked for his Americano cocktail to be given a bit more ‘kick’. The bartenders’ response? Switching out the soda for, you guessed it, gin. The resulting combination of Campari, sweet vermouth and gin quickly became the Count’s usual order, as well as one of the bar’s more popular offers, as other guests increasingly began to crave “one of Count Negroni’s drinks”. Fast-forward to today, and the Negroni has retained its elusive charms — you either love it, or you love the idea it represents.
A tribute to the magical drink and its Italian roots, 1919 is all about good food and good vibes. We visited Silom’s new contender — here’s our verdict.
In a Nutshell
An encapsulation of what they call ‘the Italian art of having a good time’, 1919 manages to hit that perfect in-between spot that gives you much more sophistication than a casual hang-out, but not to the point of rigid bow-and-tie. We love the vibrant, red-themed decor, the touches of Jackson Pollock on the painting-bar top, and the fact that you can expect premium quality sans the overt pretentiousness that often comes with it. Opt for quick after-office drinks at the standing tables by the door, choose a more intimate table snuggled down back, or you can even seat yourself by the bar itself, and strike up a conversation with the friendly talents behind the venue’s delightful cocktail concoctions. Before you leave, don’t forget to capture the customary snapshot of 1919’s instagrammable neon sign — a reminder that ‘we own the night’.
What to Order?
In Italy it is frowned upon to drink with an empty stomach, and 1919 takes this tradition seriously — hence a menu of divine Italian comfort dishes, courtesy of Scandinavian-born chef partner Francesco Deiana. A selection of classic Italian staples, infused with chef Francesco’s personal touch, the plates are especially designed to accompany your drinks. Begin with a few light bites — like the strawberry and truffle salad, which comes with wild rocket, 24-month aged parmigiano reggiano and Italian black truffle — before journeying through their varied menu.
We especially recommend the clams, lightly sauteed with garlic and white wine, while the Roman-style carbonara offers an incredibly flavourful experience ideal for those who like their Italian food rich and indulgent. The truffle pizzaretta is also one to eye, and subsequently taste. While plates are geared towards sharing, portions are small, encouraging visitors to order a few and try a bit of everything. True to Italian custom, a shot of limoncello — homemade, of course — is served after the meal, for a piquant finale.
What to Drink?
While the food menu is impressive in itself, one mustn’t forget that 1919 is ultimately an Italian bar and restaurant — not that the tantalizing drinks selection would allow for any forgetting. Fun fact: 1919 actually marks Thailand’s first-ever Campari flagship bar. Behind the wine list — while not exceptionally extensive as far as Italian restaurants go, but offering a pretty interesting selection of natural wines and, get this, orange wines as well — is Foodie Collections’ head sommelier Thanakorn Mankit.
Helming the bar itself is the ever-charismatic and dapper Supawit ‘Palm’ Muttarattana, who of course, never fails to impress with his cocktail concoctions. Smooth, exquisite, and a little cheeky, the 1919 cocktail menu diverges from Vesper’s deeply complex creations, as Palm tries his hand at serving up the classics — through, of course, his own reinterpretations.
A good example comes in the form of ‘Make Him an Offer He Can’t Refuse’, where gin meets green chartreuse, maraschino liquor, lime, sea salt, and even gorgonzola. Another option that practically has Palm spelt all over it is the Truffle Negroni, which features black truffle in a way no other cocktail has done before, going beyond truffle infusions to implement truffle oil.
1919 Italian Bar & Restaurant is open 11am-midnight on weekdays, and 5:30pm-midnight on weekends. To reserve your seats or find out more, call 0 2236 5558, or visit 1919bkk.co.