Philadelphia, PA - Stratus Rooftop Lounge, located at the top of the prestigious Kimpton Hotel Monaco Philadelphia, is bringing happy hour to a whole new level. They hosted their annual Spring Awakening roof-top Party and invited VIP’s to experience some of their small-bites menu and signature drinks.
The atmosphere had and heir of sophistication, there was a long bar-top as soon as you entered the airy venue, with soft lights to highlight top-shelf liquors, and the music from WORLDTOWN SOUNDSYSTEM to energize those who were in attendance.
Since the night emphasized the cool atmosphere, there were large heat lamps and a suave fire-scape to ensure the comfort of those in attendance. And while everyone stayed there stayed near one of the trendy heat lamps, servers brought around samples of some of the small bites menu.
There were also two stations where a skilled bar-tender made one of their signature drinks; the first station was set up to make the Spicy Jawn. It came rimmed with Tajin, and the drink itself contained Serrano Pepper infused Cazadores Blanco tequila, Melon, and Lime. I am not a fan of a spicy cocktail, so I inquired upon it’s taste from a fellow guest of the event who’s reaction was, “Oh, that’s good. I like the spicyness,” stated Ellen Ossola.
While I was asking about the taste of the Spicy Jawn, I had the pleasure of experiencing the Tuna Tostadas. The Tuna was delicate, sitting atop an avocado puree with chipotle aioli and lime crème fresh on a perfectly crisped single-bite tostado. The chipotle and avocado puree lingered on my palate afterwards, giving me that light heat from the spice with the creamy notes from the avocado.
I tried their signature drink Spa Water next, which the name is perfect for this drink. It tasted exactly like the cucumber-infused water you would get while at a spa. The drink was made with Bombay Sapphire Gin, grapefruit, ginger, and cucumber which was sweet upon first sipping it. After the sweetness mellowed, I could taste the strong cucumber flavor throughout, and it followed with the ginger and grapefruit notes. The Spa Water drink was very refreshing and an interesting creation; and if you would prefer to drink but not feel overwhelmed with the taste of a spirit forward cocktail, this is a great option.
We moved into an enclosed area that was decorated to resemble a sophisticated and personal library, with all the colors light and airy it made us feel like we walked into a lofty and enlightened study. In there were two debonair gentleman who were creating make-your-own cocktails using either Kettle One vodka or Don Julio tequila as the alcoholic base. I asked the mixologist, Ian Potts, to create something for me. So he muddled fresh blueberries and raspberries, then gave a generous pour of Kettle One, added club soda, and topped it off with Blueberry RedBull for some added sweetness. If you are not into a super sweet cocktail, I would recommend it for you.
While our drinks were being made, a server came around donning the Jamon Serrano small bites, which the server described as “A bite sized grilled cheese with ham.” However for my friend and I, the description was less simplified. We thought the bite sized food was delicious, with the natural saltiness from the ham mixing with the buttery brioche, and mild manchego left you with a creamy smokey finish.
I also tried the Shrimp Spring Rolls, which on first bite I wanted more. Obviously they were made with shrimp, but what I have a strong affinity for is what drew me in; they were made with curry. I love curry, so it was not surprising why these delectable little spring rolls were my favorite. I could taste sesame, which I believe was the oil used to make the spring rolls so perfectly crispy on the outside. And as an option, they’re presented with ponzu sauce, making this small plate even more savory with the tangy-salty flavor.
As the night grew on, we sat down beneath one of the trendy heating lamps and caught up on life. All around us friends and co-workers were doing the same. The music was floating in the air, enough to give each group of people privacy, but not so loud that we couldn’t hear one another. The music, coupled with the lighting, and chic atmosphere created a vibe that would be perfect for an after-work get-together, meeting up with friends, or a very enjoyable place to bring someone on a date.
As we savored our last cocktails for the night, my own being For the Suits-- a sweet tasting martini made with Grey Goose vodka and La Calombe cold brew, which I absolutely recommend for any coffee lover. We relaxed and enjoyed our last sips while luxuriating in the surroundings of the Stratus lounge before having to head home for the night.