The Global Barfly’s Companion #10 by Daniel Yeom
Bar: Verne Club
Location: Av. Medrano 1475, Buenos Aires, Argentina
I blame Jules Verne for kindling my wanderlust. Ever since I read Around the World in Eighty Days as a pre-adolescent youngster in South Korea’s suburbia, I started to dream about exploring the world one day. For hours on end, I’d sit in my bed with a dusty globe and fantasize about my future adventures. I didn’t have many friends.
Even after a decade of globetrotting, I, unfortunately, still haven’t trekked through jungles of India while riding on an elephant to rescue my future wife from being burnt alive. I haven’t been chased by bloodthirsty Native American warriors and I still haven’t smoked myself silly at an opium den in Hong Kong. I am starting to lose faith that I will ever truly live.
But, hey, life isn’t too bad after all. Here I am, sipping whiskey at a dimly-lit cocktail bar in Buenos Aires that celebrates the man who inspired me as a child. Let’s talk about Verne Club.
An abstract metal sculpture of tentacles inspired by the Kraken from Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea overlooks the room as the bar’s centerpiece. Head bartender Federico Cuco shows off an antique absinthe fountain that slowly drips cold water into petite glasses. Tungsten light bulbs and candles dimly illuminate sleek leather banquets and mahogany tables, and lively bartenders shake and stir in crisp white button-downs. It’s all very sexy.
And sexy bars apparently attract sexy people. Well-groomed gentlemen in oxford shirts and tight fitting jeans nurture eucalyptus-smoked old fashioneds made with bourbon and black tea syrup; ladies in tighter fitting dresses chatter and sip on jasmine-infused gin sours.
The cocktail program here, inspired by cities Phileas Fogg and Passepartout travel to in Around the World in Eighty Days, is one of the best in Argentina. The classic Bamboo cocktail with sherry and dry vermouth transports you back to the Grand Hotel of Yokohama. The cucumber-infused gin martini gives a shoutout to the popularity of the spirit in England, while the pisco sour showcases San Francisco’s favorite brandy.
Perhaps you fancy a quick bite as well? Verne Club also serves (oxymoron alert) gourmet hotdogs dressed in unusual condiments like smoked cheese, green apple chutney and sun-dried tomato. Perfect for those of us who become peckish after a couple of drinks.
Daniel Yeom is a young writer/photographer currently traveling across South America to alleviate a debilitating quarter-life crisis. Back home in New York City, he obsesses over floral notes in hoppy IPA’s and virtues of perfect Shanghainese soup dumplings. Although his food blog is on a temporary hiatus, you can follow him on Instagram here.