Hotel Amigo, a luxurious establishment nestled in the heart of Brussels, and part of the prestigious Rocco Forte hotel chain, has unveiled a remarkable tribute to the renowned Surrealist artist René Magritte.
On the 21st of November 2023, in commemoration of Magritte’s 125th birthday, Hotel Amigo proudly announced the grand opening of “Bar Magritte.” This unique establishment promises to be a sensory delight, immersing visitors in the enigmatic world of René Magritte through expert mixology, exquisite design, and an aura of mystery.
A Surrealist Experience: Bar Magritte’s Unique Concept
Bar Magritte isn’t just your typical cocktail bar; it’s a living tribute to the life and works of René Magritte. Inspired by the celebrated Belgian Surrealist artist, this establishment promises a one-of-a-kind sensory experience. It’s more than just a place to enjoy a drink; it’s a journey into the mind of a genius.
Renowned mixologist Salvatore Calabrese, known as the ‘maestro,’ has curated an extraordinary cocktail menu for Bar Magritte. With 20 signature cocktails, the menu is divided into two sections, each reflecting different aspects of Magritte’s life and art.
- His Works: This section boasts ten ingenious concoctions, each inspired by Magritte’s artworks. The “Shéhérezade” offers a citrussy, effervescent Martini experience, while “Lyricism” celebrates pear with sensuality. “Magritte” pays sophisticated homage to the artist’s love for red wine, among others.
- His World: The second section offers ten classic cocktails from Magritte’s lifetime. “Casanova” pays tribute to the artist’s friend Salvador Dalí, “Film Maker” is named after legendary director Alfred Hitchcock, and “Bronx” is a nod to the classic New York cocktail popular during Magritte’s time in the Big Apple.
Surreal Atmosphere: Embracing Brussels’ Surrealist Heritage
Stepping into Bar Magritte is like entering the world of the Brussels Surrealist art movement of the 1920s and ’30s. Guests can bask in the ambience of jazz or live music on select days of the week while perusing the evocative cocktail menu.
In addition to its exceptional cocktails, Bar Magritte offers a selection of small plates inspired by Belgian classics, mirroring Magritte’s favourite foods. These dishes are designed for sharing and include tantalizing options like shrimp croquettes, Monsieur Magritte’s Liégeoise salad, calamari carbonara, and “Les Amants,” a unique “moules-frites” ravioli dish.
Design Masterpiece: A Surreal Visual Feast
The interiors of Bar Magritte, designed by Olga Polizzi in collaboration with Sarah Daniels of DO Design Studio, are a visual spectacle. Deep jewel-like tones, playful textures, and stunning Art Deco-inspired stained-glass windows create a captivating atmosphere. The bespoke mural-like wallpaper, inspired by Magritte’s “Femmes” (1922), adds a surreal touch. A long brass bar takes centre stage, creating a striking focal point.
Lydia Forte, Group Director of Food & Beverage, shared her enthusiasm for the project: “This has been one of my favourite projects I’ve ever worked on. Combining all the elements – from the cocktails developed by Salvatore Calabrese to the beautiful glassware and uniforms – and watching it all come to life as the fabulous world of Magritte has been so exciting.”
Salvatore Calabrese, the ‘Maestro’ behind the cocktails, added, “Crafting these cocktails was a fun and playful task of pushing boundaries. I do hope guests will take as much pleasure in drinking them as we did in creating them.”
Olga Polizzi, Director of Design, spoke about the transformation: “The bar at Hotel Amigo in Brussels has had a total transformation into Bar Magritte. The specially designed wallpaper is based on an early Magritte painting, creating a colourful and immersive experience.”
Celebrating a Belgian Icon: A Tribute to René Magritte
Jan Nielsen, Hotel Amigo’s Managing Director and Managing Director of Rocco Forte Hotels Northern Europe, expressed his excitement: “We are thrilled to open Bar Magritte, the world’s first and only bar in celebration of the iconic Belgian Surrealist artist René Magritte. Art and culture are central to all that we do at Hotel Amigo, so it seemed like a natural fit to dedicate our new bar to the enduring legacy of one of Brussels’ most celebrated sons – especially on what would have been his 125th birthday.”
In closing, Hotel Amigo’s Bar Magritte stands as a testament to the artistic and culinary excellence that Brussels has to offer. As a beacon of creativity and homage to René Magritte, it promises to enchant visitors from around the world, creating memories as surreal as the artist’s iconic works.