Les Heures bar in the Prince de Galles luxury hotel made its mark on the cocktail scene starting a few years back under the helm of Christopher Gaglione. As head bartender, he created a cocktail program packed with some great drinks. But, what often grabbed the attention was the stunning and creative presentation plus the occasional tableside trolley service. After his departure, the question lingered: “What’s going to happen behind the bar now?” Answer: Florian Thireau.
Les Heures’ new manager, Florian Thireau is a young, well-traveled barman, having done stints in both the UK and Australia, in addition to his start bar-backing at the Buddha Bar. Notably, his time in London included working under the well-respected and famously talented Tony Conigliaro at the Zetter Townhouse, where he says “With Tony I discovered a unique vision of the barman’s art, a sort of adapted form of gastronomy in which absolutely nothing is left to chance. Everything is considered, weighed up and tested. The origins of the spirits, the quality of the ingredients, the chemistry of the textures – everything counts.”
With his intense focus on the contents of the cocktail glass, his direction took a 180 from the previous program with a clean and simple presentation philosophy. While the team can handle any traditional or bespoke order, Florian has developed a menu of 12 cocktails at 24 Euros each. The first three make a mini-homage to craft cocktail classics with the Savoy Corpse Reviver (from the hotel and influential cocktail book of the same name), Les Fleur du Mal from his old stomping grounds at the Zetter Townhouse and the modern classic by NYC bartender Sam Ross, the Penicillin. All important drinks in their own right, and worth trying if you’re unfamiliar with them.
However, given the talent behind the bar (and the price of cocktails here) it’s might be even more worthwhile to try the house creations that you won’t get elsewhere; specifically, the truffle martini with Beluga Noble, truffled vermouth and a truffle garnish. It’s simple, sophisticated and chances are high you won’t be making this one at home or finding it elsewhere. It also achieves a nice balance of noticeable – but not overwhelming – truffle. Otherwise, the Social Hour is a sour that contains a homemade buckwheat liqueur, something else not usually found in the home bartender’s stock. Having worked under Tony C, it’s no surprise that this barman takes a more lab-like approach in trying to capture unusual flavors.
Another new addition to the program are “Les Jeudis du Prince”, a swanky Thursday happy hour with DJ sets, which presumable pulls in a high-income crowd of pretty people. And the bar menu also includes snacks like mini-burgers or prawns, which are not bad.
Drinks aside, the bar has kept up its standards with outstanding service. You can enjoy your drink in the main bar or move out to the beautiful patio terrace, which goes all yearlong with wintertime heatlamps.
High-end hotels have a lot to juggle with accommodations, food, services, etc., which means they can sometimes falter in certain areas and sometimes it’s the cocktails that get a little overlooked. But, it’s good to see that Les Heures has changed the drinks direction but is still keeping a nice cocktail stride.
In short: It’s one of the high-end hotel bars that adds enough value to justify spoiling yourself with the occasional splurge here.
Les Heures at Prince de Galles Hotel
33 avenue Georges V