Aperture in Montpellier – Cocktails mixed with Art
I’ve always wanted to visit Montpellier. In particular I wanted to check out the bar Le Parfum. Unfortunately, I arrived a few years too late and the management had changed too. The magic of the interior remained but the rest left me underwhelmed. To sum up: The focus is on ice carving and cocktail decoration. You have the opportunity to sit close to the bartender, but there’s no warm interaction. And, the prices don’t promise an exceptional experience either. This isn’t a nice introduction for an article about another bar, but fortunately my visit to Aperture wasn’t disappointing, even if I had certain expectations there too. But let’s focus on my adventure at Aperture.
In photography aperture means the opening of the diaphragm through which the light travels. Light, design, photography, reflection are the buzzwords describing the Apertures concept. The idea behind it: a cocktail bar and a restaurant that looks like an art gallery. Aperture was opened in 2018 by internationally renowned and experienced bar luminary Julien Escot.
Located in an open and bright vaulted space with high ceilings, round arches and exposed sandstone, Aperture is a spacious venue with a variety of room layouts and seating areas. The design features a central bar island, more precisely a poly mirrored stainless steel counter, elaborate lighting and a photo exhibition on the walls which is changed on a regular basis. The right music comes out of the speakers.
The bar pairs modern bar elements with a historic-looking atmosphere. To me, it looks like a pop-up chapel, with its vaulted stone ceilings, neon-coloured light elements and mirrored bar counter.
For the experienced barfly, the lack of a back bar is not surprising and has become part of many recent bar concepts. However, this can be irritating for guests and sometimes it can give the appearance that you’re not even in a bar. So, two wall shelves with some bottles were added behind the bars. Standing still is never good in hospitality and adapting to customer needs is important. At the bar counter itself you won’t find any brands. Just a container embedded in the bar with the same-looking pre-batched Aperture branded bottles. Pre-batch is convenient in the evening and allows time to interact with the guests – but preparation for these starts at noon.
Just as contemporary as the bar is the preparation of the drinks. Following the trends of contemporary methods, aspects such as sustainability, zero waste and the use of kitchen technology are combined in the menu. A well-arranged drink menu surprises the guests with its sophisticated drinks. High-quality and creative food can be enjoyed casually at the bar or comfortably at the table. Which I did, of course. The Banh-Mi sandwich is my personal recommendation; pork belly, lemon grass, cucumber, spicy cream cheese, roasted peanuts, shizo, pickles, fried shallots.
First drink of choice was a Buffalo where Bourbon, white coffee ice cream, banana, vanilla and anise unite. An unusual start for me, but so refreshing with the temperatures that day in Montpellier. Okay, now it’s getting serious. Crocodile Old Fashioned based on rum with a herbal and fruity aroma due to the roasted pineapple and wine rue.
As a parting gift, I was given a sample of the Milk Punch and the room fragrance created especially for the bar. Yes, you can buy the room scent of Aperture and take it home. Thank you Rémi Bataillé for making this adventure special.