Flair (The Ritz-Carlton Xi’an) 西安丽思卡尔顿酒店 Flair 天韵酒吧

Article By James Morrow

27F, The Ritz-Carlton Xi’an, No.50, Keji 2nd Road, Gaoxin District.
(029) 8881 8988

Average Price per Person /人均消费: 300RMB

Roof top bars have become very popular in Xi’an, as people have become just as aware of the aesthetics of a bar in addition to the quality of its beverages. Placing your bar on a rooftop allows the patrons to watch the twinkling cityscapes while slowly imbibing their beverages. Amongst these bars, Flair at the Ritz-Carlton stands out in terms of inventiveness, décor and service.

Located on the 27th floor of the hotel, just adjacent to the Zhongda International shopping mall on Gaoxin Rd., this bar lives up to the quality expected from the Ritz-Carlton brand. The bar is at once stylish, yet still comfortable. Plush chairs and couches are everywhere, with a variety of table sizes and arrangements to serve any group. The large balcony was likewise well appointed and offers superior views of the lights of Gaoxin. Sadly, it was raining on the day of our arrival there, so we were unable to take full advantage of it, though sitting by the large windows had a similar effect.

The menu offers a wide variety of cocktails, from inventive signature cocktails to a few more common ones. The first round came from their gin and tonic menu, which featured creative mixtures of high-end gins with a variety of tonics and other botanical additions. It was difficult to choose with so many excellent sounding cocktails, so I opted for the ‘Exotic’ which contained Monkey 47 gin, lemongrass, and juniper berries. It was a light and refreshing way to kick off the evening, as well as a primer of what was to come.
Next up was a series of cocktails off of their signature cocktail menu. Each item on the menu uses a mixture of quality ingredients in unique combinations. The first one that jumped out was ‘The Fallen Immortal’ which combines Mitchers Bourbon, peach bitters, dark chocolate, and simple syrup. The waiter brought a small tray to the table, and surprised us by igniting a small chunk of wood and placing the glass upturned over the top of it in order to capture the smoke emitting from it. After capturing the smoky essence, the glass was turned over once again and the cocktail was poured into the still smoking glass. Despite a list of sweet ingredients, the cocktail was not overly saccharine, but instead offered a well-balanced flavor pairing.

The next drink was a bit of a gamble. Baijiu is a tricky spirit to work with in combination with other ingredients, so seeing not one, but two baijiu cocktails on the signature menu was intriguing, to say the least. Opting for the ‘Terracotta Red’, a combination of baijiu, dry vermouth, dry curacao, Gran Classico, and dried red dates and hibiscus, the drink arrived in a classic Chinese-styled drinking vessel called a tanzi. The sweetness of the other ingredients did soften some of the harsh edges of the baijiu, but the flavor of the spirit still remained dominate throughout the drink. If you like the taste of baijiu, then this one is for you, but if you’re not a fan, you might want to steer clear of this one.

After the heavy baijiu flavor of the previous cocktail, a palate cleanser was required. Another of their signature cocktails looked promising towards this end. The ‘Legend of Houji’ is a combination of Botanist gin, fresh lemon juice, honey and Chinese herbs. This particular drink came in yet another unique glass, a narrow-lipped glass bowl with a hollowed glass straw extending from the base. This was just what the doctor had ordered, as the light and sharp flavors of the cocktail cut through the flavors of the previous one. We also tried several drinks from the standard cocktail menu, but these were not quite as impactful as the signature offerings, and could probably be had elsewhere, though their signature Ritz Mojito, a mojito made with champagne instead of soda water, was certainly unique.

We also enjoyed some of the food from their menu, though, sadly our options were quite limited as there had recently been a ban on the import of certain meats and seafood instituted, which prevented the preparation of some of the dishes. Still, the things that were available were quite good. The prawn and papaya salad was light and refreshing, served cold with four beautiful shelled prawns. They also offered a delicate plate of vegetable samosas, wrapped delicately in thin pastry dough and served with mint sauce. Finally, we had a short stack of crispy duck spring rolls, served with a sweet and sour Vietnamese dressing.

Overall, the quality and service is what you might come to expect from an internationally-recognized brand like Ritz-Carlton. All of the staff were very attentive and we never had to wait long for either service nor the delivery of what we ordered. It should be noted that along with the excellent service and quality drinks come a price tag to match. With a great majority of their cocktails coming in at over 100RMB, an evening here is bound to be costly, but it is a great place to treat yourself or a friend for a special occasion or other significant situation. So, if the situation dictates something beyond the ordinary, then Flair might be the right place for you.

James is currently living in Xi’an and loving it, from the food to the people.

If you give this a try, let us know about your experience by messaging us at reviews@xianease.com.