Gamsei - a cocktailbar rethought
When owner and head bartender Matthew Bax opened Gamsei 2013 in Munich's trendy neighbourhood Glockenbach, he introduced hyper-localism to a field of practice which had till then been mainly confined to the food scene. At Gamsei, ingredients for cocktails like Lavender Drunk Bee and Frühlingserwachen, are either wildly foraged by Bax and his team or grown by local artesian farmers, thus reestablishing a connection with local products, region and culture and offering something that is unique in its kind. Bax, an Australian artist and founder of three bars, envisioned his fourth as an antidote to the globalization of cocktail bars; why drink the very same cocktail in every bar you go to in the world? Why not experience the excitement of the new when sipping a cocktail?
The bar interior, designed by Fabian A. Wagner of Buero Wagner and Andreas Kreft, is a clear continuation of this philosophy – looking for new configurations whilst paying a tribute to the local Bavarian culture and craftsmanship. The ambience of a Bavarian beer hall has been applied to the 40m² interior through amphitheater-style benches against opposing walls thus eliminating the common separation of bartender and guest. Here interaction is key and everybody has a first row seat. From either tribune guests enjoy a view onto the two centrally placed bars and follow how Bax and his team mix, shake and stir up the cocktails. Also the bars have been stripped of all boundaries: workspace and bar are one. Dried flowers, herbs and leaves are stored and displayed in a wooden built-in cupboard that stretches the full length of the back wall; Besides ingredients, also the coffee machine and even the doors to the bathrooms and laboratory are seamlessly integrated and can be flexibly displayed or disguised behind lattices. Tribunes, bars and cupboards are made of solid oak with a natural oil finish. White ceramic bottles, containing self-made liqueurs, syrups and essences, are suspended from a black steel mesh attached to the ceiling. In-between light bulbs make for a reduced lighting scheme by night.
Just like Bax’s cocktail ingredients, the architects procured all materials such as wood, steel and ceramics (custom-made by Gefäß & Objekt, Bachern) locally, and worked in close collaboration with local carpenters and manufacturers to produce custom-made solutions.
Gamsei is a wholly integrated concept that turns the event of drinking a cocktail into a novel experience. The refreshing take on the cocktail bar extends further: bartenders, dressed in uniform leather aprons, serve their guests an amuse-gueule, such as “Biersand”, after taking their coats upon entering, and the tribunes on either side - allow for sports broadcasts.