Luster is the latest instalment from Florian Egger and Vladimir Petrovic, the duo behind Zweitbester in the 4th. Their new cocktail bar in the 6th opened in January of this year and is your quintessential classy bar – high ceilings, dark wooden furniture, low-lighting, gold framed photos and mirrors – with a hint of industrialism brought into the mix by the exposed brick walls.
The sophisticated, yet chic vibe is matched perfectly by the upbeat Jazz being played.
The first thing you notice when entering Luster is the impressive hanging bar. It’s an imposing structure – multi-levelled, filled with bottles of coloured (deliciously intoxicating) liquids and well-lit. It’s accompanied by two other hanging chandeliers, known in Austrian German as “Luster” – which we guess are responsible for the bar’s name.
At Luster, the focus is cocktails. Their menu has 4 pages dedicated to delectable liquid concoctions, and around 70% of them are original Luster creations. The mastermind behind the cocktail list is Marco Pani, one of the best cocktail bartenders going around. The list is constantly changing as he aims to represent the current trends in the bartending world.
Marco is philosophical about what cocktails mean to him. He quotes Proust’s books “La recherche du temps perdu” when talking about how a drink (or in Proust’s case a “madeleine”) can serve to recreate experiences and bring about that wistful feeling of nostalgia.
While the cocktail list is mostly Marco’s creations, he will happily mix any drink you like, as long as somebody knows the recipe.
Marco, being the sole cocktail maker can make service lag a little on busy nights, but anything he serves up is well worth the wait. We sipped on his signature, “Thai Massage” – a perfect blend of ginger and lemongrass infused Tanqueray gin, homemade vanilla and honey chili syrup, and fresh lime juice. It was zesty, smooth and spicy, all at once.
Excellent food accompanies the excellent cocktails at Luster. The menu is somewhat limited, but fitting for a bar that encourages a tapas-type sharing deal when it comes to food. And the dishes do the job in lining the stomach to keep the cocktails coming. Their best-seller is the chop cheese sandwich with fries. Meanwhile, we feasted on the beef tartare prepared in a tasty marinade, with mouth-watering watercress butter and warm crunchy bread.
But the best thing about Luster is that if you’ve had one too many espresso martinis, and are feeling like spicing your night up, you can head downstairs to their club room.
This is where all the cool kids hang out smoking and cutting shapes on the dance floor (let’s be honest, we’re the only ones nerdy enough to be ‘cutting shapes’ and to use the term ‘cutting shapes’). Down here, you’ll also find regular DJ sessions happening.