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Ritz-Carlton Berlin Launches a Most Unusual Bar Concept, But Will People Like It?

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  Site Where: Potsdamer Platz 3, Berlin, Germany, 10785
June 5, 2014 at 12:34 PM | by | ()

The dream of every prestigious hotel is to create a unique environment, one that will bring locals in off the street as much as it will entice its guests to stay put. During a recent trip to Germany, we stumbled upon a brand-new bar (no pun intended) at the Ritz Carlton Berlin that might just be the most out of the box concept we've seen at a hotel in a long, long time.

Called Fragrances, the bar's premise combines perfume with cocktail creation, encouraging patrons to use their sense of smell to pick their drink. The visual menu is set up right inside the entrance to the lounge-like bar, a lineup of perfume bottles displayed alongside the ingredients used to make the drink. Above, a photo of the cocktail's presentation hangs.

When selecting a drink, you smell the perfume carefully because the drink will 1) also smell like that perfume and 2) reflect that smell in its taste. The concept was designed and implemented by mixologist slash perfume expert Henning Heissen, who through a number of trials, was able to find the combination of ingredients that replicated the smell of the perfumes. Each drink is served in a unique way, from glasses in buckets and birdhouses to those that resemble baby bottles.

At $19 a cocktail, you're definitely paying a premium for the novelty and intense preparation that goes into each drink. Yet because the whole idea is so out of left field, we think it's worth splurging for one.

Going through the process of smelling the perfumes and seeing how that translates into a drink is something we found entertaining, and at the end of the day, being able to use your nose and eyes when picking a drink did help us feel more confident in our selection. We knew what it would taste like based on the ingredients, and, thanks to the perfume, we also knew what it would smell like.

It's safe to say that Fragrances has the "unique" aspect down, and Heissen hopes the place will become a local hotspot. But there are a number of big question marks surrounding its potential success. We wonder if anyone will stick around for more than one drink given the high price, and we also wonder how the venue will be able to deal with crowds. As mentioned, the menu is physical - aka, on display in the corner of the room - and we could see how it might get a little tight if you have a bunch of people all trying to smell each perfume at the same time. Because of that, it runs the risk of becoming a one-and-done type of place.

Does that mean the concept is doomed? Of course not. It has the chance to be perfect in terms of hotel guests, but whether it ends up being a crowd pleaser amongst the locals remains to be seen.

Pop in on your next visit to Berlin to check it out, and if you want to spend the night, rates at the Ritz start at $260/night.

[Photos: Fragrances Bar]

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