Cocktails in the Capital
So many cocktails, so little time.
Whether its a pre-dinner aperitif, a post-theatre treat, a full-on day of swilling sophistication or just the one for the special occasion road, London has the cocktail for you. Private members’ clubs, hidden speakeasy joints, luxury hotel bars and true city gems await in insideKENT’s top picks for cocktails in the Capital.
THE STORY: Paying homage to the late, great David Bowie and the infamous ‘Last Supper’ party held at Café Royal after retiring his dramatic alter ego Ziggy Stardust, Ziggy’s opened its effortlessly cool doors in September 2018. The space transports you back to 1973, with its Manhattan bar-cum-70’s-hotel chic, with walls adorned by photographs taken by Mick Rock (Bowie’s long-standing photographer and friend). With a no reservation policy and a reputation that precedes it, be prepared to get there early (or stay late!).
THE DRINKS: The menu is an eclectic mix of Bowie’s favourites and reimagined classics inspired by Stardust lyrics. Don’t miss the Tiger on Vaseline (Cachaca, Tanaka spiced rum, roasted pineapple juice, lime juice, coconut and white chocolate foam), or the Snow White Tan (toasted rice vodka, Frangelico, double cream, and strawberry syrup); they are glam, rock ‘n’ roll and lethal!
THE DETAILS: Hotel Café Royal, 68 Regent Street, London W1B 4DY
THE AMERICAN BAR
THE STORY: Having gained unparalleled popularity in London in the 1920s and 30s, The American Bar at The Stafford remains one of the longest surviving ‘American’ cocktail bars in London. Its mahogany panelled walls offer glimpses of past celebrity guests, who like us, were enamoured by the discreet glamour and signature cocktails. Aside from the cocktails themselves be sure to check out the Cigar menu and the tempting treats from the inspired bar menu showcasing the distinct style and culinary flair of culinary director Ben Tish in a host of Mediterranean tapas dishes and sharing platters.
THE DRINKS: The 12-strong cocktail menu, specially curated by bar manager Benoit Provost, is a journey around the secluded streets and hidden secrets of the bar’s St James’ abode. Not to be missed is The Birdcage in honour of Birdcage Walk, which offers the deep smooth mix of Diplomatico Reserva, Plantation 3 stars rum, Frangelico, pistachio syrup and lime.
THE DETAILS: The Stafford London, 16-18 St James’s Place, London SW1A 1NJ
THE BEAUFORT BAR
THE STORY: Whilst The Savoy’s American Bar may be No 1 in the World (and also well worth a visit!) the award-winning Beaufort Bar is our theatrical favourite. The draped entranceway lures like a temptress into the dark, secluded former cabaret stage; the black and gold walls and ceilings a perfect backdrop for a drinks menu inspired by Savoy Stories that pay tribute to some of its most famous guests.
THE DRINKS: Why have a cocktail menu when you can have a book? Enough to keep you entertained all evening, the Savoy Stories is a masterclass in cocktail narrative and style. The Impressionist steals the cocktail show with its magical combination of Grey Goose, raspberry, cherry, violet, Ruinart Rosé Champagne and fog, not so much delivered as performed with a fresh rose above the rolling smoke.
THE DETAILS: The Savoy, Strand, London WC2R 0EZ
THE STORY: As if stepping into the London Edition, with its unmistakable London Fitzrovia building architecture and paradise of eclectic innovative design, delivered by hipster hotel maker and inventor of the boutique hotel Ian Schrager wasn’t enough, they added the Punch Room. This reservation-only, modern reincarnation of London’s 19th-century private members’ clubs is designed to be be an intimate space away from the Soho crowds – the place to be seen without being seen – enjoyed against the backdrop of a uniquely curated soundtrack of soul, blues, ragtime and doo-wop in the dark-panelled escape.
THE DRINKS: The bar boasts 30 specialty punches, and with so many to work through it makes sense to start with the Punch Room’s signature gin-infused EDITION house punch with notes of Jasmine tea and oak moss.
THE DETAILS: The London EDITION, 10 Berners Street, London W1T 3NP
THE STORY: Aside from offering the most stunning sunset views of our iconic London landmarks from Western Europe’s highest hotel bar, GŎNG Bar, located on level 52 of the beautiful Shard, also delivers the Miscellany of Inventions menu of truly creative tipples inspired by great ideas, ingenious inventions and innovations that have shaped our world.
THE DRINKS: Try the long, sweet Over the Rainbow (Martell VS cognac, Palo Cortado sherry, Mandari, pomegranate, lemon, braulio curd) with its intense mandarin flavours and creamy amaro pairing, served in its colourful balloon sphere, in homage to the Montgolfier brothers’ hot air balloon.
THE DETAILS: Shangri-La at The Shard, 32 London Bridge Street, London SE1 9SG
THE DEVONSHIRE CLUB
THE STORY: Following a huge £25m investment, The Devonshire is staking its claim as the city’s hottest new members’ club, offering fine wines in the ground floor Champagne Bar, classic refinement in the Library Bar and upmarket contemporary cocktails in the 2rd floor Cocktail Bar. Open to hotel guests as well as private members, this is top-notch seclusion with first-class beverages.
THE DRINKS: Whilst you’ll want to work your way through the entire eclectic mix proffered by bar manager Tiziano Tasso, keep it classy with the signature Empire State, (Lambay whiskey, vanilla liqueur, Campari and berry reduction, lemon juice, sugar syrup and Spanish bitters); which packs a punch with its notes of vanilla and bitters.
THE DETAILS: 4&5 Devonshire Square, London EC2M 4YD
HENRY’S CAFÉ BAR
THE STORY: Situated in the heart of pulsating Piccadilly, Henry’s prides itself on its style and charisma, but truly triumphs in creating an atmosphere that keeps happy customers returning for more. This is kick-your-shoes-off downtime in a relaxed, stylish haven of cocktail sophistication.
THE DRINKS: In the heart of sophisticated Mayfair, the de rigueur choice has to be the classic martini. Offered with style and service perfection, the choice, between the smooth, heady, refined Espresso Martini, or the sweeter Pornstar is yours.
THE DETAILS: 80 Piccadilly, London W1J 8HX