Why 97 is a relaxed evening venue with a menu that tries to cater for most palates.
The buzz: Another addition to Asiatique’s growing list of well-executed bars and restaurants, Why 97 is a relaxed evening venue with a menu that tries to cater for most palates. The out-of-town location means it may not become a regular haunt; still, it makes for a welcome stop-off if you’re in the area.
The décor: Why 97 plays on the industrial past of its building to great effect, with the exposed original brickwork, concrete and rusted steel beams countered by an array of modern lighting and low-slung seating. Some areas lend themselves more to dining while others are more suited to casual drinks with friends. There’s also a secluded room that can be hired for functions at the back and a mezzanine set to open soon.
The music: At 9pm, the lights dim a little and the music shifts from lively jazz and lounge to some more downbeat sounds. At weekends live bands play at 7:30pm and 10pm.
The crowd: Similar to most venues at Asiatique; tourists from every corner of the earth and, come the end of the working day, a steady flow of office workers looking to let off some steam.
The price: Choose from something home-grown like the white shrimp, lime and chilli lemongrass salad (B220) or plump for an international dish such as the angel hair pasta with garlic and chilli shrimp (B340). Pride is taken in their extensive wine cellar with the emphasis being on good quality, accessible wines, ranging from B600-3,000. The bar is also well equipped with spirits and the bar staff have a real understanding of cocktails, meaning you can also order off-the-menu for something to really match your mood. Standard cocktails are B220-250 but we suggest going for the Anticaodo (Monin orgeat, lemon, rum and pomelo flesh, B250) which is refreshing with just the right amount of natural sweetness.
Why you’ll come back: The laidback atmosphere lends itself to a slow-paced meal and the unobtrusive music allows for conversation, which makes a couple of well-made cocktails before you hop on an shuttle boat an attractive proposition. Dominic Hanratty