Getting Together For Water

Meeting for cocktails is so passé. The latest trend is schmoozing over fancy bottled water. At Claridge's Hotel in London, asking for a "bottle of the house" will likely result in a liter of water instead of wine; the hotel recently launched a 30-bottle water menu, including 420 Volcanic from New Zealand, which sells for €71 per liter, and a vintage bottle of 10 Thousand BC from British Columbia, which claims to be sourced from ancient glacier ice (€31 for 75cl; www.claridges.co.uk). The water bar in the basement of Colette, Paris's über-chic fashion and design boutique, offers patrons a selection of more than 100 varieties—among them Celtic delights like Tau from Wales and Speyside Glenlivet, from the makers of the famed brand of Scotch (www.colette.fr).

Via Genova in Chappaqua, New York, bills itself as a water bar and "eclectic café," serving up mixed fare like Belgian waffles, antipasto and caramel cheesecake. It also features the preferred waters of the stars, including Elsenham, favored by California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, and Oprah's choice, 1 Liter, and will even cater water for special events (viagenova.com). The Aqua Store in Rome's central Termini railway station is a destination in itself; more than a thousand visitors pass through daily to sample the extensive range of bottled waters as well as water "cocktails" that come infused with fruity flavors (aquastore.it). Best of all: they won't leave drinkers with a pounding head the next morning.

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