A small luxury hotel with a flamboyant attitude. Bodacious decor and contemporary street art inside an austere 19th-century building in central Rome. That’s the Hotel Chapter Roma of Marco Cilia. Opened in 2019, it continues to swagger with its upbeat personality by adding a bigger surprise to its team: Mario Farulla, a highly experienced bartender both in Italy and abroad took over the reins of the Lobby Bar and imprinted his signature on the iconic counter with the set against the mural by American artist duo David Leavitt and David Torres of Cyrcle, in a cosmopolitan atmosphere among colorful sitting zones graced by the indoor art work by Alice Pasquini.
A master of traditional and inventive mixology, Farulla’s ingenious elegant experimentation obtained him an immense pride in the cocktail world last year when he was working as the bar manager of Baccano Bar in Rome. Baccano procured the prestigious 70th spot of being one of the best 100 cocktail bars in the world for The World’s 50 Best Bars 2019. It was his drink list and virtuosity that captured the incredible moment. And for this year, he is taking this spectacular adroitness to Chapter Hotel’s Lobby Bar with the desire to attain new goals.
“I feel the need to confront myself again. Chapter Roma represents my new challenge, that is to clear the concept of the hotel bar in Italy and in particular among the Romans, who continue to see it as a distant, almost inaccessible place. I ferry the Lobby Bar into an unprecedented street dimension , to open it to the city and make it an authentic engine of the ferment that revolves around this hotel. Once again I am guided by enthusiasm and a perennial spirit of an explorer. And for this trip I packed the refined techniques in Asia, the attention to raw materials and production processes that I have explored in South America, the experience I gained over twenty years of career working from one pole to another of the globe and all with the warmth of the Italian welcome,” expresses Farulla.
Closing to two decades of career, he has inhabited the most disparate bar counters from different corners of the globe making an exceptional journey through Dubai, Georgia, Azerbaijan and London. Starting from small suburban bars to glossy clubs, hotel chains, then bigger steps to elegant Michelin-starred restaurants like the ones of Gordon Ramsey and brothers Chris and Jeff Galvin in London. Now he occupies the stylish bar counter of Lobby Bar to instill his evolution of mixology, in harmony with the concept of Marco Cilia for his hotel. Foremost, the desire to reshape the canons of hospitality while consolidating an idea of contemporary and accessible luxury that is tailor-made around the needs of the guests.
Farulla has conceived a very dynamic drink list for The Lobby Bar. “A menu that encompasses twenty years of personal experience, life behind the counter and as a customer ,” explains Farulla, “travels, aromas and flavors of a nomadic generation born between 1981 and 1996, which needs to be told, expressed and find its place in the world ,” Farulla explains.
Millennials is the drink list that he has developed, divided into five chapters which represents the different phases of life. It resembles a time machine, capable of crossing periods and catapults the palates of the guests from Scotland’s legendary distilleries to rigorous Japan with its millenary rituals, from the Roman flavored hand-shaved ice up to the British tradition of gin and its iconic aromatic variations. These chapters, while sitting on a bar stool in front of him on one beautiful night in Rome, he explained and concocted some of the most remarkable cocktails that truly merit a stop at The Lobby Bar (of course when the DPCM anti-Covid regulations will be finally lifted in Italy).
Gratachecche, the popular remedy for the heat of the Roman summer, where kiosks sell these refreshing shaved ice flavored with fruit syrup, a stimulating childhood memory of Farulla gets a spot in his Millenials drink list. A glass filled with crushed ice which is then poured finely with the most curious spirits and liqueurs like the Italicus Rosolio di Bergamotto, Gin Arte, the passion fruit Prestige Liqueur of Ancienne Pharmacie and Vodka Kettel One. 00 In One Sip is the second chapter that resembles a Polaroid shot at the beginning of the millenium in the early 2000 with historic drinks remastered ad hoc by Farulla which are projected into the contemporary and pave the way for a new avant-garde approach. Among these drinks is a particularly different cocktail with a savory touch called the Vodka Red Bull, a mixture of Belvedere Vodka and aroma of dried meat. Infinity Jar continues with the third chapter which for Farulla expresses years of awareness, the desire to never disappoint, and always trying to make new experiences. The drinks of the Infinity Jar are never boring, where unique blends are created frequently in large jars on the counter. The fourth chapter thrives on experimentation and environmental awareness. The Circle of Life contains the cycle of life in a sophisticated manipulation of raw materials. Any citrus or organic element is given a second chance by being reborn through the process of redistillation wherein the natural flavors are even more emphasized. The last chapter, Equal Parts, signifies man’s constant search for a continuous balance that leads to stability and perfection. A selection of drinks that are born in equal proportions and remastered with a contemporary touch.
“The bar manager is not simply a smile behind the counter and the professional mixologist who fills the glass, he is also the supervisor of the entire room. He must have absolute control of everything that is needed and that moves in the backstage of a bar and, at the same time, he must know how to listen to the wishes of his client, amaze him and involve him in his own vision of drinking. And this is always the case, whether you are in front of a student in the small rural club or if you are serving a princess during a grand gala. Because I am convinced that the experience of a good bartender is not counted in years of work or beaten counters, but in how many different people he has served in his career,” ruminates Farulla.
Photos without the watermark are by Paola Pansini.
The Lobby Bar
Hotel Chapter Roma
Via di S. Maria de Calderari, 47
00186 Rome, Italy
Tel: +39 0689935351