THE PARTY train is chugging full steam ahead as Christmas approaches. Perhaps Nick House and Kelly Brook have been inspired by the season for their new City venture, Steam and Rye, which takes cues from the Roaring Twenties and the Wild West. The massive venue is spread over three floors. The main room resembles Grand Central Station with towering living clocks, tables situated in a steam carriage, a taxidermy-packed cargo hold upstairs and a cocktail carriage in the basement.
For another splash of Art Deco grandeur, Tom and Ed Martin’s One Canada Square ticks the boxes in Canary Wharf. The venue, designed by the late, great David Collins, comprises of two floors, interconnected by a striking grand staircase, with three prepossessing pillars segregating the ground floor bar from the restaurant and serving as the backdrop for both bars. An array of G&Ts and negronis can be selected from the iPad-hosted menu.
In Mayfair, the North Audley Cantine is spearheaded by three Frenchmen in their mid-twenties and is injecting a youthful energy into the Mayfair milieu. The bar area downstairs is a great place to express your joie de vivre, with dark wood panelling, mismatched furniture and plenty of antique mirrors for stolen glances.
For something a bit more mature visit the Champagne Bar at the Montcalm Hotel, just off of Marble Arch. Golden-hued to reflect the light form the eponymous tipple, it’s a prime destination if you’re looking for a quiet spot to catch up in.
Earlham Street Clubhouse in Covent Garden is serving 90s style fun with a room cobbled together out of reclaimed wood panelling, boardwalk signs straight off the Jersey shore, battered suede seating and Coney Island lighting. Look out for the cocktail menus hanging from the ceiling, booths tucked away in secret alcoves and an iPhone jukebox app and fuel dispenser beer tap on the way.
Alternatively, head to Shoreditch, where the Jones Family Project opened on Great Eastern Street. Assembled by a team who have been working together for over a quarter of a century, it shines through in the inclusive, homey atmosphere. There are two separate bar areas, one on the ground floor and one in the basement, which are decked out with orange velvet Chesterfields and ironwork tent frames. Perfect for warming the cockles with a cocktail or craft beer.