Gastronomer Lifestyle_Cocktail Meets Pizza_Copper Bar

Cocktails Meet Pizza at Copper Bar

Written by Gastronomer Lifestyle

July issue ‘Italian’, 2023

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An artist-turned-mixologist, Fabio Brugnolaro has carved a unique niche for himself in the vibrant city of Bangkok. Born and raised in a small town in Piedmont, North Italy, Fabio’s journey has been one of diverse experiences, the relentless pursuit of knowledge, and a burning desire to create. After completing school, he took up a series of odd jobs ranging from being an electrician and plumber to a floor carpenter and postman, before leaning into a calling for the arts and enrolling at the prestigious Istituto Europeo di Design in Turin. 

A short while after obtaining his degree in illustration, Fabio moved to Milan, but due to the challenges of making ends meet solely as an artist, he turned to the world of food and beverage. Quickly, he found a passion for F&B and set his sights towards cocktail bars. Milan’s vibrant bar scene became his springboard into the world of mixology, and he began immersing himself in books and learning from the city’s best mixologists.

In 2017, seeking new horizons, Fabio made the bold move to Bangkok and landed bartending positions at well-known venues like J. Boroski, Vogue Lounge, and SUL. Impressively, only a year after moving to Thailand, he was able to open his own bar, Copper Bar—a nod to copper alembic stills, an apparatus used for distilling alcohol. The bar reflects the owner’s artistic background and culinary inspirations. Combining kitchen techniques with classic recipes, Fabio crafts cocktails that are both innovative and reminiscent of old-school charm. The cosy 1940s-1950s ambience, complete with a wide array of bottles and a beautiful pool table, creates an inviting and warm atmosphere for guests, akin to being in a “friendly living room”, says the bar owner himself.

Just six months after opening Copper Bar, however, the Covid-19 pandemic struck, forcing him to close temporarily. He turned to cooking food from the bar, offering delivery services for pizza, pasta, and meatballs. These endeavours proved to be a lifeline, keeping Copper Bar afloat for more than two years. Fabio’s Pinsa-style pizzas, in particular, were such a hit, they continue to be a staple of the Copper Bar experience post-pandemic.

Today, both Fabio and his bar are fixtures of Bangkok’s prominent Italian F&B community. When asked about the Italian dominance in the city’s bar scene, Fabio tells us that he isn’t exactly sure how the phenomenon came to be but guesses that it’s because Italians are so passionate about hospitality and have a long history with cocktails, adding that one can spot an Italian-owned establishment rather easily. Apparently, the key signs of an Italian-owned bar are “Campari and vermouths in the selection and rivers of Negronis.” Also, pizzas are a plus, and “wine definitely can’t be missing.” And indeed, the Negroni— along with an extra dry gin martini and the daiquiris made with agricole rums— is this Italian bar manager’s personal favourite tipple. 

Copper Bar locates at 1st Fl., The Racquet Club, 6 8 Sukhumvit Soi 49/9. Open Tuesday–Sunday, from 6pm–1am. For more information, call 088-945-6247.

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