A shortlist of where to have a drink in London this autumn
One benefit of London’s cloudy grey skies is that it puts city residents in a drinking mood, which has made the city’s bar culture world-class. Cocktails especially are leading the way this year with innovative spots popping up on both sides of the Thames. Tony Conigliaro introduced London to molecular mixology, and his 69 Colebrooke Row (http://www.69colebrookerow.com) in Islington is a dimly lit favourite for connoisseurs. The seasonal menu makes use of laboratory concoctions that taste as mind-bending as they sound: soy Pedro Ximénez, horseradish vodka and prosecco puree are recent creations.
Well-heeled Mayfair is home to two more of the capital’s top cocktail bars: the Connaught Bar (http://www.the-connaught.co.uk/mayfair-bars/connaught-bar/), set inside the hotel of the same name, is an elegant Art Deco gem with a constantly buzzing atmosphere and one of London’s best barkeeps, Agostino Perrone, serving up cocktails new and old, including gin martinis inflected with homemade bitters from a silver cart. Mr Fogg’s (http://mr-foggs.com/residence/), set just around the corner on Bruton Lane, is a throwback to another era, one with far more whimsy and peculiarity. Modelled on Jules Verne’s hero in Round the World in 80 Days, the eclectic décor and bespoke military-style staff uniforms aren’t the only reason to come: the crack team behind the bar is exceptionally knowledgeable and crafts cocktails to match the spectacle (which is coming in the autumn to Covent Garden in the form of Mr Fogg’s Tavern, an all-day brasserie).
Elsewhere in London, a pair of bars have opened with decidedly different focuses. WC (http://www.wcclapham.co.uk) in Clapham, south of the river, may be set in a former water closet, but today the W stands for wine and the C for charcuterie, as the 100-year-old space has been repurposed into a hip and remarkably spacious wine bar that offers a mix of Old and New World vintages alongside a changing menu of meats and cheeses from across Europe. In Soho, meanwhile, the traditional whisky shop Milroy’s relaunched in June with a 55-seat bar downstairs, known as The Vault (http://www.thevaultsoho.co.uk), featuring classic whisky cocktails and, of course, one of London’s best selections of single malts, which are for sale by the bottle upstairs.
September 2015, Experience