Snuggled halfway between Reconquista and San Martin on the two-block, pedestrian alley known as Tres Sargentos lies the greatest vodka bar in all of Argentina: Empire Thai.
“We’ve got 103 different kinds of vodka,” says Empire Thai owner and founder Kevin Rodriguez, a New Jersey native. Rodriguez came to Buenos Aires many years ago as a banker but he soon traded in his suit for an apron and started Empire Thai. He did so in the days before it was hip to do so and before Argentines started opening up their palates to foreign foods and spices.
It was, and is, a success. Empire Thai provides a unique taste of Asian flavor right in the heart of the Micro Centro. As for the vodka – or whatever kind of mixed drink you want – bar master extraordinaire Mona Gallosi will take care of you. Mona, a native of Cipoleti, in the province of Rio Negro, came to Buenos Aires and started working as a server at Empire. She eventually began learning how to mix drinks and had a natural flair for it.
“I studied to become a fashion designer,” says Mona. “And that influences the way I mix drinks. I have a feel for colors and texture that helps me be creative with drinks.”
Mona works with customers to make sure they get the right cocktail the right way. She has been so successful that she’s even had her own radio and TV shows.
So the next time you’re in the mood for something spicy or for a new kind of mixed drink, stop by and try out Empire Thai. And while you’re at it, say hi to Kevin and Mona.
Link: Empire Thai on Guiaoleo