Published on : Saturday, July 25, 2020
If you prefer dining at a rooftop restaurant alfresco style, you most certainly have hotelier and F&B visionary, Mr. Deepak Ohri, to show your heartfelt gratitude. In 2003, Ohri launched a restaurant and bar atop the State Tower, one of the derelict skyscrapers in Bangkok, finally making the rooftop dining craze so famous that we still see today.
Promising delicious food, sublime tipples, with jaw-dropping views in all of Bangkok, the Sirocco restaurant and Sky Bar has fast turned into a major hotspot in Bangkok, luring locals as well as tourists from outside. Sky Bar even had a starring role in Hollywood movie Hangover II.
Ohri opened the Lebua at State Tower hotel in 2006, followed by the all-suite Tower Club at Lebua in 2011. In all these years, many restaurants and bars were built in the building, like Asian restaurant Breeze, two Michelin-starred restaurant Mezzaluna, cocktail bar Distil, and champagne bar Flute, to name a few.
With wide assorted F&B establishments under one roof, jointly known as The Dome at Lebua, the building acquired the reputation as “the world’s first vertical destination”.
However regardless of its popularity, Lebua couldn’t protect itself from the ill effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. To restrain the spread of the coronavirus, Bangkok declared lockdown on Mar 21st. By that time, local hotels had already started facing various challenges with international travel halted for an unpredictable time.
The second major blow came on Mar 26th. During this time, restaurants were no longer allowed to serve dine-in patrons. Lebua’s F&B outlets on average would have 1,600 guests per day. During the time of lockdown, business dwindled completely zero.
Ohri remained unworried by the challenges. When restaurants were ordered to close, Ohri saw the news in a positive light. “That was the need of the hour,” he said. “Every time during a war, to take a step ahead, you need to take a step back. Look at your surroundings, assess the situation, and then move forward. That was exactly what we did.”