Thursday, November 22, 2012
A Drinker's Notebook No. 3: Roederer at the Honesty Bar
Le Relais Saint-Jacques is a charming small Parisian hotel just up the hill from the Pantheon in the Latin Quarter on the Seine's Left Bank. Recently, I had just returned from a walk around Ile St-Louis and a satisfying lunch at Le Lutetia on the Quai Bourbon, then taken a brief nap in my room before returning downstairs to read in the hotel's Salon Louis XV, which I had completely to myself. Eventually, I noticed the beads of chilled water on the exterior of the zinc Champagne tub near the bar and, above these beads, the neck of a bottle of Roederer peeping down at me. It was time for a drink. Not sure if the bar was open, I stirred around and saw a bunch of slips near the resting Champagne. They were headed: "Honesty Bar." I was familiar with the concept of "honor bars," but had never seen one in a hotel and never heard one called an honesty bar. And so, I poured a tall flute of Roederer Brut Premier, noted my name and room number on the slip next to the nine euros mark, took up a small dish of crusted hazelnuts to munch on and contently continued reading, feeling honest and with my honor refreshingly restored.