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Sypped is the official website for wine and spirits journalist and personality, Adrian Smith. For your dose of wine, spirits, food and lifestyle inspiration, look no further!

Filtering by Category: Bars

Brunello Bar & Restaurant At Baglioni Hotel

Chef Alberto Rossetti has a deep love and appreciation for pastas and risottos ingrained in him by his mother’s cooking back in Parma, Italy. Now he wants to share that love with the rest of the world at the reopened Brunello Bar & Restaurant at the Baglioni Hotel in London. With a gorgeous view of the Kensington Gardens chef Rossetti wants to bring simple and sophisticated dishes to the hotel.

 

The lunch menu is more informal fare featuring classic Italian dishes while the dinner menu is more sophisticated with more contemporary variations on the classics. Lobster risotto, tuna steak with sesame seeds and peppers, and pumpkin veloute are all among Rossetti’s signature dishes. 

 

Afternoon tea is available daily between 1:00 PM and 5:30 PM and features a fantastic selection of herbal and traditional teas, accompanied by delicious savoury dishes or a selection of cakes and pastries such as the famous “Sicilian cannoli with ricotta” and “Neapolitan sfogliatelle”.

The Coral Room

The Doyle Collection is a group of luxury hotels around the world that focuses on bespoke and stylish design. The Coral Room exemplifies this concept. Find respite from busy city life in this country-home inspired lounge in the heart of Bloomsbury. You’ll know you’re in the right place when you see the namesake coral walls and enchanting Martin Brudnizki inspired interior design, complete with chandeliers and marble topped bar mirrors. The walls are lined with 36 original pieces by illustrator Luke Edward Hall.

 

The English sparkling wine list emphasis selections from local vineyards. If you want something a little sweeter, opt for a spritz-style cocktail with a name celebrating the country-city fusion that inspires the restaurant. If you’re craving something smokier, step outside to the cigar terrace, aptly named The Coral Garden, and enjoy a quite drink under the foliage. If you’re feeling peckish dine on the restaurant’s novel menu, featuring an acai bowl, spiced baked eggs, turmeric yogurt, and other innovative culinary fusions. Enjoy the fresh air, or soak up the rustic décor and picturesque atmosphere, and return to city-life rejuvenated.

 

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Cartel

Every year seems like it’s going to be mezcal’s year to break into the mainstream, yet this diverse and often misunderstood spirit continues to hover just below the surface of London’s cocktail scene.  It’s there if you know where to find it; but it doesn’t like to make a fuss.

 

Now, in the midst of winter, it’s fair to say we all need a little more Mexican spirit in our lives, and as luck would have it, Cartel on Battersea Park Road is bringing just that to a small corner of SW London.

 

Since opening in April 2017, owner Andy and barman Josh (formerly of Soho’s El Camion) have been making the most of their Mexican contacts and have built a dazzling collection of mezcal on the box-shelving behind this colourful bar.

 

If heading straight for the sipping mezcal isn’t your thing, there’s also a detailed list of 16 mainly mezcal or tequila-based cocktails (from £8.50-£11), a menu of tacos and quesadillas to soak up all that agave spirit, and a Tequila Brunch every Saturday.  Who doesn’t want to start their weekend with bottomless margaritas and a three course Mexican feast?

 

Finally, since mid-November, their authentically tin-roofed Mezcaleria became home to around 100 different bottles of tequila’s older more rustic relative.  So that’s where you’ll find us this winter.  After all, there’s a 21-year-old Tepeztate we’re dying to try. Never heard of it?  You will soon.

 

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The Clifton

Steeped in history a bar in London has metamorphosed again but retaining its essential character. The Clifton has been a landmark of the local community for centuries, and now brothers Ben and Ed Robson have reinstated this incredible pub with a new look and a refreshed attitude to pub drinking and dining. After its sudden closure in 2013, which left it empty for four years, the Robson brothers transformed it into their vision of a contemporary pub with homely sofas, original fireplaces, traditional loose furniture and a well-stocked bar. Situated on a tree-lined residential street, The Clifton opens at 9 a.m. on weekdays, making it a great spot to pick up coffee and pastries. During the day, the pub has a relaxed and welcoming feel for those who want a café-like atmosphere and at night, it comes alive with the re-imagination for the open plan room.

The menu features crisp and punchy ingredients alongside inventive staples. With laid-back weekend brunch, mouth-watering midweek suppers and hearty Sunday roast, The Clifton offers an evolved definition of pub food. The menu is split in two: “Drinking House” and “Eating House”. While the former features smaller plates that are perfect with drinks, the latter is a full all-day menu. The diverse array of local and craft beers on tap, there is talk about Ben and Ed brewing their own Clifton beer! Throw in wine expert Raul Diaz and monthly “Wine Club” showcases and you’ve got yourself a new hangout spot.

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Sweet&Chilli’s Nine Lives Bar

This summer the established drinks agency, Sweet&Chilliis set to launch a neighborhood bar in East London, and you’re invited. The bar, called Nine Liveswill feature original cocktails, an inviting atmosphere—and like most of the bar operations Sweet&Chilli represents—great music. Since 2002, founders Allan Gage, Emma Hutchinson and Tom Soden, have extended their creative event planning across the Drinks industry. Their award-winning team of Drink experts team together from their global offices in London and Sydney, to develop specialized campaigns and to consult brands on product development. Sweet&Chilli was founded on the belief that every drink should be enjoyed as it was intended. Years later, this philosophy continues to impact and expand their marketing initiatives worldwide.

 

When it came to naming Nine Lives, Sweet&Chilli decided to imbue their project goals with the company philosophy. And so, Nine Lives is re-defining cocktail culture with its sustainable, no-waste movement. Music plays from a re-purposed beautiful rig, old recipes are reinvented and ingredients are reused to reduce waste (and fertilize their backyard herb garden). The name speaks to an “ethos of salvation” that is also reflected in the bar’s design and relaxed overall vibe. The décor is old-fashioned and eclectic: woven lampshades and hanging plants subtly surround you. Even the expertly trained bartenders, clad in re-purposed vintage uniforms, are part of the package. Somewhere near London Bridge, in an unassuming Victorian basement on Holyrood Street, Sweet&Chilli’s Nine Lives Bar has opened its ceiling high balustrade and uncompromising ethos, to you.

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Devonshire Club

 

SUSD, a creative real estate consultancy, brought a new meaning to desk-to-drinks when they launched the Devonshire Club. The Club is designed as a two-floor space to be used for doing work or grabbing drinks. The area boasts three distinctly different bars, two lounge areas, and one eatery full of fresh, delicious foods.

 

After working hard and imbibing, guests can relax in rented bedrooms. Single and family accommodations are available, with over 68 amiable choices.  Complete with sprawling Apple TVs, high-speed WIFI, and Hypnos beds, these luxurious rooms can be utilized by members and non-members alike. The Devonshire Club is built in the heart of London, next to both the financial district and trendy nightlife neighborhoods, so there is plenty for club-goers to do if they can tear themselves away from the superb amenities.

 

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The Hakkasan Solar Menu: London

 

Every great restaurant has it’s own unique touch, an extra bit of inspiration that makes a dining experience truly special. For Hakkasan, a Cantonese restaurant that first took London and then the world by storm, that inspiration comes from the Chinese solar year. This summer they’ve put together a menu that melds both ancient Chinese culture and with the kind of cuisine best suited to the warm weather of the summer months.

 

The menu consists of an eight-course meal, each course conceived with summer nutrition and Chinese philosophy in mind. The food items are delicious, featuring plenty of seafood such as seared scallops in XO sauce and chargrilled octopus, as well as plenty of fruits and vegetables. To make things even better, the ingredients are chosen not only for their flavor, but to relate to the idea of yin and yang, which holds that natural harmony which can be achieved by eating or drinking foods that help both the body and the spirit.

 

The menu can be paired with both alcoholic and non-alcoholic flights. With so much attention to detail, your taste buds and your body will walk away satisfied.

Ember London

 

Just mere footsteps from Monument station a new luxury cocktail bar has risen from the flames, taking mixology genius to a whole new level. I am of course talking about the newly opened Ember. 

Hidden within the basement of an old historic building on the very street that the 'Great fire of London' began, is this new London gem. But this is no typical basement, a modern and inquisitively inviting space has taken the best part of 12 months to craft and perfect. There's even 3 hideaway rooms for private and more intimate gatherings, each with their own unique charm. 

The food is a taste sensation, a variety of small plates designed to entice your palate and evoke every taste bud within; from the sweet and salty and to the bitter and sour. Guests can expect to experience an assortment of small plates including the likes of swordfish sashimi, wagyu & foie gras sliders and goat curry to name just a few. A vast assortment of incredibly tasty and well thought dishes to evoke excitement.

It was clear from the get-go to see passion flowing from behind the bar, a seamless interaction of imbibe crafters, embracing each shake, stir and pour as if it were a theatrical performance. They know they're bar, they have the skills and by god are they not afraid to show it. Some serious thought has gone into creating these modern asian themed cocktails.

Take for example the ‘Japanese Hard Shake’, which is a modern asian twist on the espresso martini; encompassing Johnnie Walker Black Label, Araku Rum Coffee Liqueur, vanilla espresso and anise infused rice milk. Another spotlight on the menu, Matcha 3 looks to sweet-basil infused vodka, plum sake & lime juice with dry curaçao with lemongrass pearls, matcha green tea foam and micro-herbs.

The flavor combinations are to point and it's evident that the team has been working the mixology field for a while. Just as you thought you couldn't top the cocktail experience, you discover the 'Mountain Mist'. Clover infused Hennessy cognac and Bulleit rye with amaro montenegro, benedictine with chilli and ginger and orange bitters, topped off with pine-scented burnt fog that combines all senses in harmony.

So put simply, here's the summary: Ember is a place to watch and keep on your radar over 2017. It may have just opened its doors, but there is an unquestionable amount of skill that is only beginning to take form. The food is great, the drinks are fantastic and the value for money even better. 

Food:            9/10
Drink:           9/10
Service:       9/10
Price:            $$

 

 

The Purple Bar, Smith & Sinclair Edition

You enter the room, surrounded by a plush purple dream that spreads across the wall, almost like an illusion. Warmth and comfort instantly embrace your mind, heart and soul as you melt into the comfortable seating before your imbibe experience begins. 

This isn't just any cocktail menu, it's a carefully crafted bespoke experience that will make your eyes gaze in wonder as things happen that you have never quite experienced before. The boundaries of mixology are pushed to a new level as edible cocktails, perfumes, vapors and dust become the new norm. It's like Alice in Wonderland meets Charlie and the Chocolate Factory all wrapped up in one. 

The experience itself includes everything from flavour and colour enhancing cocktails that change as you drink them, to scented alcoholic lollipops, jellies and even booze themed dib-dabs for those who seek even more adventure. If that wasn't enough for you there's even a festive-infused vapour that will instantly transport your mind, body and soul to a Winter pine forest as you close your eyes and inhale. 

The pop-up itself is situated in the famous Sanderson hotel, long known for its bespoke and eloquent service. This partnership offers something never previously experienced within the London cocktail scene and allows those who like a little more 'play' in their lives to have some fun, let loose and enjoy some seriously good cocktails. 


Drink:           8/10
Service:       8/10
Price:            $$$
 

 

Painting the Roses Red
Tequila, Campari, Lime, Clementine Juice, Agave, Hibiscus, Chili and Ginger Ale
Paying tribute to Sanderson’s take on an Alice in Wonderland theme, the holiday classic Tequila Sunrise is given a Queen of Hearts makeover served with an edible playing card

Violet You're Turning Violet
Gin, Maraschino Liqueur, Triple Sec, Violet Liqueur
Bringing back memories of Parma violets, don't let your eyes deceive you with this playful twist on an Aviation that changes colour

Summer Leftovers
Vodka, St Germain, Triple Sec, Lemon, Aperol
The last tastes of summer are captured in a burst of fruit and floral, served with an edible perfume pairing for “sweeteningto taste

Rose Gold
Gin, Rosé, Campari, ‘Gold’ (edible shimmer)
A sweet and tart Negroni infused with liquid glitter and served over a chunk of ice and with a scented rose gold lollipop

Thyme for Tea
Whisky, Jasmine, Lillette, Citrus, Prosecco
Served from a signature tea pot is a sweet and refreshing jasmine nectar and citrus-infused whisky, topped with a touch of bubbly, slowly infused with Lapsang Souchong, ice thyme and sage

 

The Bloomsbury Club

Hidden beneath the finesse of Doyle Collections’ Bloomsbury Hotel sits a quaint yet sophisticated bar, teeming with cocktail creativity. A speakeasy mixed with Mad Men vibe on the inside opens out to a rustic and cozy outdoor patio on the outside. The well placed heat lamps keep you warm, so you can spend the entire evening sitting beneath stone arches in all-embracing comfort and privacy.

I always take my hat off to a bar that invites Mixologists from around the globe to come in-house and help them perfect their craft -- and that’s exactly what Bloomsbury has done. Teaming up with a variety of World’s Best Bars, including The Clumsies and BlackTail they continue to push the boundaries of cocktail innovation.

There's a marvelous old school feel the this place which resonates throughout the entirety of the cocktail menu, new twists on old favourties accross a spectrum of gin, rum, whisky and tequila. There's even a couple of exciting surprises thrown into the mix, such as the Gin & Milk cocktail, which was not at all what you'd expect in a truly fantastical kind of way. The highlight of the experience is that not only can you bank on getting a delicious cocktail, it becomes without the typical London price-tag, costing you around £10 per serve. 

You can't help but notice subtle Italian themes peeking through every now and again, especially when it comes to a good old fashioned Negroni, which I have to say Bloomsbury kicks ass at. In an effort to drum up some more excitement and create a personal and tailored experience they will also soon be launching the ability to have your very own barrel filled with a Negroni style cocktail. The thinking behind this being; when you arrive at the venue, you have your own personal stash you can delve into. A solid idea with a wonderfully personally feel to it that compliments the look and feel to this venue so incredibly well.

Well all know that when great food and drink combine they create an other-worldly experience and Bloomsbury is no stranger to this way of thinking – with an incredible nibble menu at the heart of this bar. Whether it’s the quail scotch eggs, lobster taco’s or charcuterie boards that tickle your fancy, these gourmet treats hit the spot, rich in flavor and combine beautifully with the bespoke cocktail menu.

All in all this is a fabulous up-and-coming venue that could really do with some more love from cocktail enthusiasts. The space is incredibly inviting, warm and cosy and I can quite confidently say that I will be returning soon. With cocktails around the £10 mark, it’s an absolute steal considering the quality.

Where: The Bloomsbury Hotel
Address: 16-22 Great Russell St, Fitzrovia, London WC1B 3NN
Phone: 020 7347 1000

Food:            8/10
Drink:           8/10
Service:       10/10
Price:            $$

Myki Sand Bar

Craving an icy tropical cocktail with your toes sinking into the sand, but with no immediate plans to jet off to Santorini or Mallorca? Look no further than Archer Street in Soho for a beach-conjuring escape in central London at Myki Sand Bar, a glamorous pop-up bar that carves a little slice of beach paradise into the unlikely vessel of an urban basement bar.

Furnished and decorated in gleaming whites and blues that call to mind magical Greek islands on the aquamarine Aegean with photos of iconic stretches of sand, palm trees, and of course, an actual sand floor (plan ahead with footwear, stilettoes not encouraged) Myki Sand Bar brings the beach holiday to you, even if only for a few relaxing hours.

Opened in late May and carrying on with the beach party vibe until late October, Myki offers a creative menu of original and classic tropical cocktails featuring Cîroc vodkas and other top quality craft spirits. Try the designed-to-be-shared “Pure Shores”, an oversized cocktail portioned for four featuring Cîroc, pistachio, lime juice, salted watermelon, mint leaves and soda water and be transported instantly from a dreary work week trapped in an office to the bliss of golden sand, lapping waves, and a blissed out atmosphere. Okay, Myki won’t quite substitute for a couple of weeks in Santorini, but it’s a lovely escape—no passport required.

The Savoy

Step into a world that takes you back several decades and witness London in all its glory, with a heritage that is truly like none other. Mix that with a little 1960’s America vibe in two of the most exclusive cocktail bars in England and you have yourself The Savoy. But English heritage aside, we’re talking about a hotel that prides itself in the world of alcohol, the Savoy Collection being a prime example of that and something we’re really excited to share with you today.

The American Bar

With its entrance located in the heart of the foyer, the American Bar can be anything you want it to be. Take in the vibrant atmosphere with a group as you chat away or observe single handedly in peace as you admire the pianist doing what he does best with an unbelievably good cocktail in hand. Order anything from the extensive cocktail menu, full of distinctive classics and local twists; either way, you’re sure to be impressed. Make sure to call ahead and make a reservation, the American Bar is one of the most popular spots in London for travelers and cocktail enthusiasts alike.

The Beaufort Bar

There is no question that Beaufort is a definite contender for one of London’s most extravagant cocktail bars. I mean lets face it, there’s not many places that have a hand-crafted cocktail trolley pull up to your table, and believe me when I tell you, its quite an experience to witness. As if the ambience couldn’t be topped, the state of the art pop-up drinks menu really is the garnish to the cocktail.

I guarantee you’ve never seen anything like it before nor will you see anything like it again. The vibe of the room embraces you, taking you back several decades as if you’re in the heart of London just after WWII. Every detail is met to perfection, including each cocktail you will see crafted before your very eyes. The Beaufort is a London gem, a place that like many other bars cannot be replicated in any way, shape or form.

The Savoy Collection

As if two of the most prestigious bars in the country wasn’t enough, The Savoy is home to one of the worlds most luxurious and limited spirit collections.

Decades ago when The Savoy had first opened its doors, there was a spirit collection so prestigious that only the most loyal guests were able to taste. It was the hotels way of saying ‘thank you’ – to the people who kept its doors open and to those who had supported what was to become one of the most famous hotels in the world. A couple of years ago the hotel had a realization… why not re-introduce this custom? Why not once again say thank you to those who are at the core of The Savoy community? And so it was re-born.

While only launched in 2013, this collection already boasts multiple one-of-a-kind spirits, bottled exclusively for The Savoy and to be enjoyed by a handful of the most loyal returning guests and discerned imbibers. The idea is simple; partner with some of the worlds most legendary spirits to create a collection, so unique, that those lucky enough to get their hands on a bottle will keep it locked away while it ages to its peak potential. Obviously these spirits can be enjoyed now and are clearly divine, but we’re with The Savoy on this one, buy now, drink later. They do say ‘patience is a virtue’ after all…

Curated by a leading panel of award-winning bartenders and the Savoy’s own team of drink experts, each sensation is carefully picked, bottled, labeled and presented immaculately. Incredibly limited quantities of each spirit produced to ensure they remain a rare and hard to come by delight, every bottle being hand-numbered. With names like Laphroaig and Martini sitting at the heart of the collection, the centerpiece gem is presented in a custom-made glass masterpiece, the elusive 125th Anniversary Decanter filled with the rarest Speyside whisky to date; the 48 year-old Macallan single malt scotch.

The Savoy Collection currently has extremely limited quantities of:

  • 21 year-old Macallan
  • 17-year old Laphroaig
  • The Royal Suite Reserve Cognac
  • Savoy Martini Bitters
  • Demerara Rum from Guyana 1975
  • The 125th Anniversary Decanter (Macallan 48 year-old single malt whisky)

So there you have it, you read the list, you’ve licked your lips and you’re probably rummaging through your liquor cabinet right about now. I’ll leave you with this; sometimes when you look really closely at something you realize it’s not just black and white. While The Savoy is one of London’s most historic hotels, it is also at the very heart of our drinks industry, a pioneer and innovator of its time and a curator of what will become some of the rarest and most sought after spirits on this planet.

We’ll cheers to that.

The Blue Boar

Long ago when Westminster (England’s political hotspot), was being raised from the ground, there stood a pub called the ‘Blue Boar’. As the local gathering spot, it stood true to its traditional English roots; British ales flowed, local music entertained and Gentlemen went about discussing their work affairs and political stance. Sadly, after a promising number of years, the Blue Boar shut it doors, until just recently, of course.

Patrons of Westminster may once again flourish in merriment with a variety of local brews, live music, and a décor that places the Blue Boar as one of the most entertaining pubs in London. Customers can gaze in awe and laughter at the politically humored artwork strategically placed throughout the surroundings of the bar, each piece telling its own story. Brownie points are awarded to those who not only understand the joke, but the political relevance and history to each piece.

At the center of London’s political world, the Blue Boar is no stranger to MP’s and key political figures, many of whom would call this fine establishment their second home. In fact, the place has become such a hotspot for the political world that MP’s decided to create a petition. For what may you ask? Well, let’s just say the Blue Boar Bar is the only drinking hole in London to have its very own MP Bell. It seems the Blue Boar has become such a popular destination for MP’s in-between voting, that an 8 minute warning bell sounds so that they can briskly walk back to the House of Commons just in time to create a little history. They do say beer makes us wiser after all…

The Blue Boar isn’t just known for its carefully acquired beer selection. An extensive cocktail list awaits the explorers amongst us in both alcohol and non-alcohol forms, there truly is something for everyone. Those who wish to have a little more privacy are also invited to  use of the private cocktail room, lathered in a plush décor, comfortable couches, and a charming, dimly lit atmosphere. The food is another world altogether, with Head Chef, Rob Stevens at the helms of a traditionally crafted British menu with added quirks of gourmet creativity. Having had years of experience working with British fare, Rob brings an extensive number of locally sourced suppliers to the table, to create some truly delightful dishes while promoting advocacy for true British cuisine.

Although Blue Boar is technically a separate entity that can be entered from a number of doors on the street (like any pub should be!), it resides snuggly in the corner of The Conrad, St. James, directly across the street from St. James Underground. Recently taken over by the Hilton Group, The Conrad has seen and will continue to see multiple changes as it finds its inner-self in the heart of this political region. The observant ones amongst us will notice the wall designs comprising of fingerprints throughout the whole building, adding to the mystery and political wonder that we witness only too frequently. The walls aren’t the only things to have changed, with the hotel boasting some of the most architecturally savvy rooms in London. A sleek and sophisticated design with all the modern quirks allow guests to feel comfortably at home. Add to this a state of the art media system, brand new Nespresso coffee machines and heated bathroom flooring amongst an ongoing list of perks and you can easily see why Conrad is becoming such a popular destination to sleep, drink and explore.

Who ever thought politics could be so fun?