Before I headed to Venice for the Venice Biennale, I heard the news that the Gritti Palace was opening a new canal side lounge bar designed by Riva Yacht. Yep, that Riva, the gorgeous and century-old boat-making company of luxury flotilla (runabouts, row boats, yachts, motoscafi and all) that has the remarkable ability to make my heart beat just a little faster and my mind conjure up overly styled images of me arriving in my best cruise wear just upon hearing the those beautiful syllables: riva. Did I mention it is canal-side? Ahem, Grand Canal side? And thus Riva Lounge was shortlisted for cocktails in my Biennale beat, in other words, 24/7 pastries, art, cocktails, repeat.
Here’s my take: the Riva Lounge location (front row view of Venice’s Salute and Punta della Dogana and a 4 minute walk to Piazza San Marco) is worth the Bellini alone. What solidifies it as a place where I will be having repeat cocktails are the details. Long known for its unforgettable style both large and small- wooden hulls through the 1960s and sublime sexy fiberglass from the 1970s forward, hand-stitched upholstery, gorgeous chrome ornaments, and color, precisely picked color, Riva Yacht has given the exact same attention to its land-locked vessel, aka The Riva Lounge.
And it is on fleek. The classic design is subtle at times, and best shown off in its aerodynamic, Acquarama-inspired chairs of nautical Navy blue back casing, white upholstering, and chrome. But I had my eye on a table- the gorgeous round tops made of inlaid wood and chrome. My only suggestion to Gritti is to not cover them with linen cloths during table service so that people, like myself, can obsess over the chrome while enjoying the bacalà tris and a Riva cockail. I’ve never been shy to share how much I love the classic and unforgettable Riva lettering.
If design and material is so very Riva, so is color. Riva’s Robin’s egg blue is just the menu, but also the signature Riva Cocktail (orgeat syrup, white rum, orange bitters, grapefruit juice). The menu itself is a very lovely selection of light Venetian dishes, including the Bacalà tris. But next time you find me there, I’ll be the woman testing out the cocktails and cicchetti.