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Longtime Barman at Ritz Paris’s Bar Hemingway Makes a Clean Dirty Exit

“Pierce Brosnan would come on his own and say, ‘What should I drink?’” Mr. Field recalled. “‘Perhaps a dry martini, sir,’ I’d say, and I would make him the most perfect dry martini. In my own little head, I had served James Bond.”

Mr. Field decided he wanted to be a barman during a school trip to Paris as a teenager. He was enchanted by the city’s distinguished cafe waiters; to him, they represented romance and freedom.

When he returned home to Rugby, England, he set up a bar in his bedroom, with stools, glassware, bottles, the works. At 18, he wrote to the Ritz for a job. “They sent a lovely letter back that read, ‘Once you have done hotel school, please don’t hesitate to contact us,’” he said. He saved his money to attend the Ferrandi hotel school on the Left Bank of Paris.

Upon completion, he applied to the Ritz again but was told he was not yet up to its standards. He then worked for chic restaurants and bars across the city, including L’Hôtel, the 18th-century establishment in the Latin Quarter where Oscar Wilde died in 1900. It was there, in the “dungeonlike basement bar,” Mr. Field said, that he first met Ms. Moss, with Johnny Depp, her boyfriend at the time. Though Mr. Field was content with his work, the Ritz still pulled at him.

Understandably so: From the moment the Swiss hotelier César Ritz opened the Ritz on the Place Vendôme in 1898, it has been regarded as the ne plus ultra of hospitality. “At the Ritz, nobody jostles you,” wrote Marcel Proust, who made it his second home as he worked on his masterpiece, “In Search of Lost Time.” In 1921, the hotel added Ritz Bar in the Cambon wing, across the street from Chanel. For men only, the Ritz Bar was where Ernest Hemingway and F. Scott Fitzgerald famously drank their way through the Roaring Twenties.

A small salon across the hall from the Ritz Bar opened in 1926, for women to wait as their husbands imbibed. It was known as the Steam Room, “because the ladies were steamed,” Mr. Field said. In the 1930s, the Ritz Bar started welcoming women, and the Steam Room was outfitted with a bar and rechristened Le Petit Bar.

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Mohammad SHiblu

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