Baillie St Merchants.

Baillie Street Merchants might seem to be an odd name at first, since space is located on Mudalige Mawatha. However, the name itself is derived from the road that it once was during the British rule. The merchants part is pretty self-explanatory, but what's great is that you do really see that spice merchant heritage highlighted through their menu.
 

The spot is somewhat discreetly marked, but also reveals itself by the (rather excessive) suited bouncers standing at the entrance. There are two ways of getting in: reservation or password. We highly recommend the former because the password is a bit risky since space might be full. Either way, when you make a reservation the first time, you're told the password so that you can walk in the next time.

Drinks

These guys make excellent cocktails. The Lolita (Rs. 1300) had gin, lime, passionfruit, vanilla and elderflower cordial. The overall effect was rather orangey, but pleasantly so.

The 1Sri1 (Rs. 1250) packs a punch with Arrack, Port, Pineapple, Cinnamon, Nutmeg, Vanilla, Cocoa and Orange Bitters. It left us wondering how one could put so many ingredients into such a tiny glass. It was also served on a wooden tray with lots of chocolate shavings. The drink was good if a tad strong. 

The Colontota Daquiri (Rs. 1300) was my favorite, it was light and nice. Inside it was dark rum, lime, pineapple, cinnamon, nutmeg and vanilla. 

Just to keep things real, we also tried some Old Arrack (Rs. 500 for 50ml) with Everness Soda (Rs. 200), you can't really screw that up.

Ambience

On promos, Baillie invites you to come behind 'the locked doors of colonial history' or some such like. Inside you have a lot of wood paneling, tasteful decor, and pleasing lights.

When it first opened, word got around that Baillie had some sort of speakeasy vibe going. Proper speakeasies haven't been around for decades though (they originated in the US during prohibition, landlords would charge people to see exotic animals and throw a drink in for free as a proxy for actually selling alcohol), and in Sri Lanka, the closest you'd come to a textbook definition would be an illegal hooch joint. Don't let that fool you, Baillie is unapologetically upmarket, evident in their choice of clientele and prices.

Service

Well trained, polite and fast. Nothing to complain about here.

Conclusion

A cozy, definitely expensive bar that serves up some spiffingly good drinks. Make a reservation before you go.

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