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bathtub, bulldog, mombasa, sylvius, the botanist… any guess? well, they are all gins, vastly different ones, too, and they are all on the extensive menu of ballroom, one of the it-places in rotterdam. the bar-slash-restaurant at hip and busy witte de withstraat offers a total of 55 variations on possibly the most elegant of spirits, and its waitresses and waiters all have their characterization and individual stories at hand. as with any great bar, this dares you to have a go at stuff you’ve never even heard of – and guerdons you with a discovery or two.


definitely a bar later at night, ballroom opens the evening as a restaurant. the dinner menu is big on balls – from the american classic beef meatballs with spaghetti to the thai cod balls with udon noodles to the pork on fire balls with black bean chilli – and also offers a variety of bar food. i had the pleasure to share a mixed platter (sonny’s cheese crocketts, mini jalapeno burgers, twister fries, eggs marie celeste, giant green olives, anochovies, sun-dried tomatoes) with manager wai seu chan, and, yip, it was delicious!

wai, by the way, went on record saying she doesn’t even like gin that much. but man, does she like telling stories about it! ask for her advice – it will be worth it. this is mine: wrap up the night with a glass of sloe gin: of dark-red tint and extremely sweet, it’s the gin world’s equivalent to a round and sound port – and the perfect finishing touch to a dinner at ballroom.