The Loft.

Colombo Courtyard is one of the city’s newer boutique hotels. They offer around 32 rooms if you’re staying and a couple and bars and a restaurant if you’re dropping by for some food and drink. The Loft is one of them.

The Loft belongs to Colombo’s league of high end drinkeries – 7 Degrees, Qbaa, Zaza, and so on. There are essentially two types of bars in Colombo: the super posh and the super dodgy. While our preferences – and wallets – tend to veer toward the dodgy side of things, dodgy bars aren’t for everyone, and they’re certainly not for every night; while dodginess is something of a Colombo forte, the city does have a small handful of swanky bars that can be ideal for when you’re entertaining or just want to sip on a good cocktail in a pretty place.

And the Loft offers essentially just that – good cocktails in a pretty place. The swish interior is heavily air conditioned and dimly lit – note the twinkling fibre optic lights on the floor – and the music doesn’t batter your eardrums. Always a plus. A significant portion of the furnishings and decor come from recycled bits of scrap – bar stools made out of tractor parts, corrugated sheet ceilings, cushions sewn from sacks – and the industrial style design is what gives the bar its name.

As for the all important drinks, they’re good. The Loft’s mixologist Lahiru is friendly and knowledgeable, so if it’s a quiet night, have a chat, learn a bit about the art of mixing and ask him to recommend you the perfect drink. He knows his stuff, and whips together a great Old Fashioned (recommended) with extreme attention to detail – I never realised what a process this was, about 30 swivels of the bar spoon and lots and lots of sugar crushing with a muddler. Cocktails range from about Rs. 500 to 700, fairly standard, and beers are Rs. 300 and up.

Foodwise, you’ll be fine, but avoid the cold cut platter. In the perennial search for good cured meats, I’m always tempted to order a selection of hams, but in Sri Lanka this has never proven a wise venture. At best, you get a few thick slices of prosciutto and processed Cargills slices – so at all costs, resist the temptation to order this particular dish. The rest of the food, however, is decent – the pizzas in particular are good.

We like the Loft. It’s trendy without being pretentious, and it’s a nice place for the occasionally indulgent cocktail. Not a bad place to toast pay day.

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