Opened on August 03, 2012, Madam Chu’s is the latest addition to Copenhagen’s growing scene of high-end cocktail bars.
The bar was the brainchild of business partners Paul Muldowney and André Greedy, owners of The Union and of the former Office Space.
The Union, as only those in-the-know know, is a partially hidden cocktail bar near Nyhavn that harks back to America’s prohibition era. This sleek and sophisticated bar has a luxurious and almost decadent feel, with its wooden interiors and tin ceiling imported from New York. As Copenhagen’s first speakeasy style bar, stepping into The Union is like stepping back in time, and its combination of richly styled interiors, lack of windows and stout, handcrafted cocktails often leaves you feeling like you’ve escaped into a different era.
Over on Gammel Strand, Madam Chu’s has a decidedly different, yet somehow familiar vibe.
“We call her our little adopted sister,” says Union bartender Geoffrey Canilao, “she’s part of the family, but different.”
The decor strikes the almost impossible balance of being simultaneously kitschy and classy, with beautiful imported display cases being home to campy souvenirs and plastic figurines. Black painted walls and red accents flank the rather spacious bar, which is situated two steps below the street and behind a black curtain.
Upon entering, you’re greeted in the same manner as The Union, that is, met with a glass of water and offer to tweak any menu offering to your specific tastes. The bar is welcoming, the atmosphere is jovial and the menu is inventive.
Using unorthodox ingredients like aloe vera juice and eucalyptus leaves, the drinks are unique and surprising without being gimmicky or bizarre. The “Candy X,” comprised of red ruby port and ginger juice and adorned with skewered pieces of candied ginger, is sweet but not sugary, and subtly spicy but not overdone. The “Coffee Kick” is the perfect drink to get you through an alcohol-induced slump, and on to the next beverage.
At both locations, the largely international staff provides a quality of service that foreigners and ex-pats can be nostalgic for.
“It’s about laughter and fun; we want to keep people happy, says Canilao, “we don't sell the drink, but rather, the possibilities of drink.”
Prices at both places are about on par with the other upper-brow cocktail bars in the city, which is, not cheap. But while the cost of the drink may be a bit on the high side, so is the content and quality, and you’ll feel the impact of the drinks before your wallet does.
Madam Chus is open Tuesdays through Saturdays, from 6 pm until late.
What: Asian-inspired cocktail bar
Where: Gammel Strand 40
When: Tues-Sat: 18:00-Late