RAISING THE BAR: Parched Parisians — and devotees from as far away as Czech Republic, Germany and America — made a pilgrimage Wednesday night to the Hemingway Bar at the Ritz for one “last pour” before the mythic hotel closes for extensive renovations.
“Nothing will change. It will stay exactly like it is now,” legendary bartender Colin Field bellowed over a microphone. “It’s only an ‘au revoir,” he stressed, vowing to return after what he described as a mere “interval.” The hotel is expected to remain closed for more than two years.
“The best martinis in Paris,” Charles Rivkin, U.S. Ambassador to France and Monaco, and his wife Susan Tolson declared as they hoisted their glasses. “Very, very dry,” Rivkin added approvingly.
An 18-year veteran of the establishment, Field recalled that he used to man the bar on his lonesome in the early days, working up to 15 hours a day, and closing up shop when he went on vacation. He said he would now focus on side projects — including coaching “future actors in our profession” — before coming back to the Hemingway.
“I think I can say I’m a jealous lover, so to let some other bartender prance around behind the bar after all we’ve been through is unthinkable,” he laughed, before being tugged away by one of his regulars. “This man is going to kill me if I don’t get him a drink!”