Ropewalk: Sri Lanka’s Hottest New Arrack Specialty Bar

Elevating the once-rudimentary distilled beverage, Ropewalk, Sri Lanka’s first arrack specialty bar uses modern techniques and locally sourced ingredients to champion the Sri Lankan bar experience. The concept of Ropewalk was inspired by its iconic location on Leyn Baan Street, which means “ropewalk” in Dutch, and part of the arrack production process where harvesters traverse across a rope stretched between two coconut trees.

Produced from the fermented sap of the coconut flower, Sri Lankan arrack is now a much sought-after drink by residents and foreigners alike. Today, no journey to Sri Lanka is complete without nabbing your very own bottle of arrack, a sip of which will take you back to the sunny island life.

Ropewalk is a charming space perfect to host a quiet dinner date, sunset drinks, or a private soiree. Amrit Rajaratnam, founder of Ropewalk and Managing Director of Maitland & Knox Heritage Hotels, commented, “Ropewalk is Sri Lanka’s first high-end, arrack-specialty bar at the historic Galle Fort Hotel. In a 300-year-old space, we’ve used modern techniques and the very best in mixology, with local alcohol brands, while championing arrack. I wanted to create an iconic place representing both Sri Lankan culture and the Dutch influence and bring into light Sri Lanka’s arrack culture that will put arrack on the global map.”

Maintaining the heart of its iconic location, Ropewalk’s design philosophy was to enhance the existing elements of the building whilst tailoring colours, decor, and memorabilia to match the brand. The space displays countless objects rich in culture and heritage, like traditional Sri Lankan furniture, a racing bullock cart, and Dutch-era porcelain art pieces mounted on the walls.

The prime location that is frequented by a variety of people hosts soft lighting, live music, and the delectable Feasts of Ceylon, Ropewalk’s signature food menu that was founded upon the principle that a nation is best discovered through its food. Ropewalk offers a menu that has been crafted with unique and intriguing dishes from various regions of Sri Lanka.

An ode to their locale, a warming Galle mutton broth and seafood watti soru introduces patrons to the Southern palette whilst Ropewalk’s take on odiyal kool and mutton peratal bring the essence of the North to their plates. Dishes from the Central Hills and fishing villages in Negombo dot the menu, showcasing how Ropewalk steps away from the tourist trail and back to the traditional Sri Lankan dining table to give patrons a truly local experience set against a luxurious space.

But the star of the show is Ropewalk’s range of signature drinks. Featuring unique arrack cocktails alongside an extensive arrack menu, their drinks celebrate Sri Lanka and the journey it has withstood through time. Nabeel, Head Mixologist at Ropewalk commented, “At Ropewalk, you encounter a mix of both western and local drinking experiences. I focus on using modern techniques and the very best in mixology with local flavours, while championing arrack by using a lot of Sri Lankan alcohol brands. Many of our cocktails use local ingredients, like tamarind paste, curry leaves, ginger, and locally produced treacle. However, one must-try is my signature cocktail ‘Only Nabeel Likes This’.

Ropewalk’s much-raved signature cocktails cater to a range of palates.

Ropewalk Signature Sour – Infused Rockland Old Arrack, lime, ginger, lemongrass and sugar syrup

Only Nabeel Likes This – Old Reserve Arrack, banana, pineapple, coconut cream, treacle, and masala tea

Leyn Baan – Halmilla Arrack, ginger, lime, coriander, curry leaves, elderflower, peppercorn, and soda

The concoctions are blended perfectly using exceptional techniques. The drinks are smoked with dehydrated rosemary leaves and cinnamon sticks and the menu boasts unique flavour pairings like coconut arrack paired with cherry and local lemon marmalade.

Ropewalk is working towards bringing an unparalleled experience to its patrons, reinventing its menu with seasonal ingredients and unique inventions. This holiday season, they’re bringing a Sri Lankan twist to Christmas that’s bound to leave visitors wanting more.

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