Bangkok bar renamed following protestBy Georgie Collins
Siam Kempinski Hotel Bangkok has renamed its bar, formerly named after the Hindu deity Hanuman, after protesters deemed it “highly inappropriate”.
The Thai hotel, which is owned by luxury hotel chain Kempinski, has changed the name of its Hunuman Bar to 1897 Lounge.
In addition, a Martini that was previously called the Hunumantini has been renamed as the 1897tini.
The Hindu community had objected to the use of vodka in the eponymous cocktail, as well as the bar food menu which included wagyu beef tartare, grilled beef, Angus beef burger, beef ragout, beef khao pad, as well as various other spirits, as ‘selling beef and liquor in the name of a Hindu deity [is] a desecration’.
Hindu statesman and president of Universal Society of Hinduism, Rajan Zed, spearheaded the protest and thanked Kempinski Hotels for understanding the concerns of the Hindu community, which felt that such a nomenclature was insensitive.
Zed said that Lord Hanuman was highly revered in Hinduism and was meant to be worshipped in temples or home shrines, and not for selling liquor and beef.
He went on to say that inappropriate usage of sacred Hindu deities, concepts, symbols or icons for mercantile greed or other agenda ‘was not okay’, as it ‘hurt the devotees’.
In Hinduism, Lord Hanuman is known for ‘incredible strength’ and his role as a grammarian.
Zed added that such trivialisation of a greatly venerated Hindu deity was disturbing to the Hindus, and the faith was something sacred.
Zed confirmed the Hindu community was “still waiting for a formal apology from Kempinski Hotels and its CEO Bernold Schroeder for naming a bar and a Martini after a sacred Hindu deity in the first place”.
In our Global Bar Report 2022, we looked at how the on-trade faired in Asia last year, and named Bangkok bar Asia Today as one of our Bars To Watch in 2023.