Sign In


First Sip: Avenue Joffre

Jul 9, 2013 | 17:43 Tue
Japanese bartender Mune San used to shake drinks at el Coctel. Now he’s got his own place, Avenue Joffre, in Surpass Court. It occupies Fount’s former bar space and specializes primarily in gin, prepared in classic, tried-and-true style. No fancy crap. No smoldering cups of dry ice and pork-infused Campari, just classic stuff. Martinis, gimlets, negronis and a dozen types of G&T.

He has other stuff. A page of vodka cocktails, a page of rum, a

decent selection of scotch and some wine and beers, but the focus is squarely gin. He’s got Monkey 47. He’s got lime Rangpur Tanqueray. He’s got Bombay Original Dry. He’s got Victoria gin from Canada, Plymouth Gin, Schlichte gin from German, this French gin called Eyguebelle that seems only to be available in Japan. He’s got 20 types, to be shaken or stirred with much care and attention, but very little in the way of fruit juices, sparklers or curly straws.

Avenue Joffre seats about 50. The bar itself (the thing over which drinks are served and upon which leaning is done) is this beautiful piece of wood, this one great big slab of polished tree. The rest of the seating is plush and squashy. The music is low. The lighting is slight. All told, it’s not re-writing the book, but it’s a pleasant place to stroll around the world of gin, or dip into some other cocktails. All of them cost 86rmb, so, you know, not cheap, but only a couple of bucks over what you’d spend across the way in Lola.

The name of the bar is a reference to King Joffrey, the popular hero of swashbuckling HBO series Game of Thrones. Here’s a fun fact: apparently the character Kim Jong-un from the fictitious country North Korea was actually based on Joffrey Baratheon. True story.

So, anyway. Avenue Joffre. Nice place. Top man behind the bar. Good bar to drink some gin and contemplate the mysteries of the universe. Cocktail-lovers, gin-lovers, put it in your rotation.