Almost all cocktail bars make the same drinks.
Some creative bartenders research novelties in the choice and matching of ingredients. Some others are committed to experimenting with new processes, such as that of Mr. Lyan, which is to obtain imitation of flavors, consistency and depth of the products through a microwave.
In addition to the lack of imagination, health is also sacrificed in order to push the trend of the moment.
In California, making a splash of money by proposing the news is routine. But most of the time, when the news has passed, the business also decreases.
In fact, there are few businesses that manage to stand up with a certain dignity and remain firm and consistent with the quality of the offer.
In Parthenope, things work more or less the same way. But we focus those who try to carry out a qualitative, productive and continuous discourse.
We previously called attention to one of the 100 best bars in Italy. This time we will focus on one of the best 50 cocktail bars in the world.
It is L ‘Antiquario and it is located in Napoli. L’Antiquario features a shy but not hidden entrance, in via Vannella Gaetani, characterized by a wooden door, next to a showcase that displays small antique objects such as seltzer bottles and champagne cups. It looks like a small antique shop that fits perfectly into the Chiaia scenario.
It is actually a speakeasy cocktail bar. A small but very welcoming place.
The walls are carpeted in red and your ears delighted by jazzy music. On the menu there are exclusively cocktails and champagne.
The host, the charming businessman Alex Frezza, opens the door.
Already known as a finalist in global cocktail competitions, with his ideas and his way of working, Alex Frezza has managed to conquer even those who are not expert in drinking. He won them over with his savoir faire and his experience.
AF: “Working as a boy in a restaurant on the island, I learned what it means welcoming someone to your own land. I learned what make people feel at home and I let them taste the things we make and the way we consume them in our place.”
Alex is Neapolitan, from the Procida Island, and, as a son of the island, he carries the flag at the top. We find him satisfied with the awards obtained with L ‘Antiquario and enthusiastic about the proclamation of Procida as Capital of Culture 2022.
AF: “Procida does not have hospitality in its DNA like other islands do. It is a seafaring island and has never really worked with tourism. Today it is slowly discovering tourism and is adapting to a business format that does not always manage to fit naturally into its own “texture”. Surely the concept of “island” puts you in a different way in welcoming someone from the “mainland”. Every business is like a small island and we must learn to welcome people who come from overseas. “
In spite of being a few kilometers away from the island, Alex has lived and worked in Napoli for many years now, and occasionally he visits his family in Procida.
AF: “As an entrepreneur I would like to do something on the island but compared to the mainland there are limits that are difficult to overcome. You should live there to do a business. Maybe one day I will succeed. “
Alex’s research lies not only in novelty, but also in the combination of different elements which innovative elements can also be part of.
However, let us be clear that by innovative elements we do not necessarily mean high-tech experiments but we can also mean elements that, simply, they are not used until that time.
Each creative takes a different path. Each man perceives his experience differently. Creating cocktails is a bit like creating an event and Alex’s experience and creativity have made him succeed in both worlds.
Alex as a man and as a professional respects the tradition to which he attributes a place of prestige. According to him, tradition is not a limit but a map of the DNA of each of us.
What was once new and innovative can become tradition over time.
AF: “Nothing that is now considered traditional in our territory is actually native to our parts. For example the spaghetti comes from China, the tomato from the Americas, the buffalo mozzarella from the oriental buffaloes. I am a great lover of things that manage to become “classic”, if something becomes “tradition” it means that it works and is somehow connected to our way of life. “
Speaking of traditions, let’s talk about coffee.
It is reknown that Napoli is very devoted to coffee and L’Antiquario offers only cocktails and champagne. In spite of this it achieves great success.
AF: “Neapolitan people have their own tradition about coffee which is different from the rest of the world. It is unmatched and hardly like all very traditional things it manages to cross its narrow boundaries. In Napoli, coffee is not seen as a thing to drink in a cocktail.
We never sold many Espresso Martinis even when they were on the menu. The secret of L’Antiquario’ Master of the house was to create a niche in a field in which there are not many references on the territory. Serving only cocktails and champagne, excluding wine and beer, forces you to become strong in the offer in order to survive. This also makes you recognizable by the customer. “
Before being recognizable by the customer, he himself recognizes the guests’ need.
He is a gentleman and puts everyone at ease.
A host who, in addition to focusing on the specificity of the offer, aims at hospitality, which, as he himself points out, is not much talked about but which is one of the main keys to the success of L’Antiquario. He explained this to me after I teased him by asking him what he thought of the bizarre idea of Mr. Lyan.
AF: “Ryan is a great experimenter in our field, I believe that in drinking more than eating certain innovations make no difference. Customers are not always prepared to perceive their real value. Bars often sell hospitality first, then the atmosphere and finally the cocktails. “
It is true that the cocktail and its innovations are the last thing to be perceived by the customer. Alex is upset that he has not yet met journalists who write an article on hospitality and innovations in the service of a bar.However, next to the uniqueness and quality of the products, hospitality is just what the magazines are excited about when it comes to L’ Antiquario and it is the very first gratification of the guests of which the landlord know the tastes.
AF: “The Neapolitans are great consumers of champagne, but being cosmopolitan at heart they also know how to appreciate the cocktail which by its nature is an international product. One of the best-selling cocktails of the antiquarian is the French 75 which is a gin sour with a champagne top. “
Yes, that’s exactly what he said: “French 75.” However let’s not despair. We will continue to drink NA57.
Alex is linked to his Procida and is also linked to Napoli, which he now does not intend to leave.
In fact, plus a long list of ideas he has in mind. Next Summer L’ Antiquario will continue the collaboration with the Grand Hotel Parker’s, managing the rooftop bar.
AF: “No. I won’t leave now. Here I have everything I need. We have just launched a new menu called Napoli Capitale. Precisely because after years of comparing myself with foreign countries, now I think the time has come to celebrate my capital. We have many things at stake and for the first time we will bring L’ Antiquario to act outside Italy too … “