“It follows the name of Emma, love of my life, and Madame means a married woman in French”, says Pyae Phyo, one of the guys behind this sneaky little hideout – MadameEm’s.
Soft-opened at the end of December, MadameEm’s is tucked down on New University Avenue Road, just beside Eternal Flowers Shop. Once inside, you will be spirited away into an isolated world away from the city’s midtown – without noticing you are still here. It is long and narrow inside, hemmed in by mirror-covered walls. Soaring ceilings give a cavernous feel, with round cushions and sofas on each side, an enormous staircase at the corner of the end, and yet another secretive dungeon awaiting downstairs. This instantly makes me recall the sumptuous nightlife spots of Bangkok’s Soi 11.
With fancy cocktails lavishy created by Joey Keen – for over six years manager of the Seven Spoons Restaurant in Bangkok – the experienced new lead bartender of MadameEm’s.
“I met Joey in Bangkok last year and I’ve brought him here as we have the same goal – to promote a culture of cocktail bars in Yangon,” Pyae Phyo reckons.
Despite having it’s European name, everything at MadameEm’s is locally sourced and the tiny bar snack menu highlights Burmese plates. With no ready-made premixed liquid, no serums, the team makes most of the ingredients for their signature drinks in-house – even down to the hand-cut cocktail ice.
Pyae Phyo continues; “I put all our [his and Emma’s] favourite food crafted into the menu to create each appetizer and drink which will then remind me of our memories whenever we serve it to our guests.”
The “soft-launch” cocktails such as the 2020 Highball with Russian Standard Vodka, Colors & Emotions with Appleton and homemade lemon and turmeric, are a must-go. All cocktails are priced at 8,000 Ks. A full menu with twelve signature cocktails and twelve classic cocktails with a fuller snack menu is on its way, to be launched before the end of February.
The bar snacks include Shoestring Fries with salt and pepper (6,500 Ks), Blanched Edamame (6,500 Ks), Pomelo 2.0 (7,000 Ks) – which is quite new, not your typical bar snack – shows up as a Burmese Pomelo salad tossed with toasted coconuts and cashews in spicy jaggery sauce.
Nonetheless, Madame’s has no draught beer option. But you can kill your craving by ordering cold bottles if you could avert your eyes from their cocktails. I bet you won’t be able to. BYOB (bring your own bottle) service is allowed, but there will be a corkage fee with free flow ice and mixers.
MadameEm’s is the speakeasy concept bar that Yangonites deserves. Expect a lot to come from the new kid on Yangon’s nightlife scene.
Address: 449/B New University Avenue Road, Bahan Tsp, Yangon
Tel: 09 979 799978
Hours: 6 pm – 2 am