French Connection

If 1940s Vietnam Were a Cocktail Spot

None 6 Photos L’Amant
Ah, the French colonial period.

That time when France ran much of Southeast Asia.

France running stuff: strange thought.

But it turns out it makes for a surprisingly solid café motif...

Say bonjour to L’Amant, a tiny cocktail-and-café version of the French colonial era, now open.

Firstly, it means “the lover.” Secondly, when we say French colonial, we mean Southeast Asian. It’s like stepping into a deleted hallucination scene in Apocalypse Now, but in a good way. A way that involves lazy wooden fans, a jungle-plantation vibe and tiger-print rugs.

Pre-date cocktails are the order here. You and said date will adjust your eyes to your patterned, blue-walled, green-ceilinged surroundings, bypass the bar and the handful of two-tops, and sink into a leather armchair in the secluded back-corner room.

That’s where the trouble starts.

You get to talking about the profound strangeness of the vintage monkeys-and-pagodas wallpaper over gin-and-Thai-basil concoctions—maybe some tuna tartare if you’re feeling peckish. Your date laughs. You laugh. The soft light of a ’40s-era French-Vietnamese lamp does its work. More cocktails are ordered.

Before you know it, you’ve moved on to champagne bottles. Your dinner reservation is three hours past and you two have decided to move in together after you quit your job to become an artisanal-spice-rack craftsman.

Maybe sleep on that one.


235 W 12th St
(at Greenwich Ave)
New York, NY, 10014


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