THE bar scene in London has been on the up of late and two very different new offerings are continuing the trend. The London Cocktail Club had decamped and moved to Goodge Street (and it has indeed travelled well). This modern take on an old fashioned gin palace is tucked away down an iron staircase with just a hanging sign to mark the spot. Entering the bar you know you’re in a haven of cool and kitch but it’s the welcoming staff that make the difference with most being top-rate mixologists too. With the emphasis on making you feel like a local, the noble aim is that you’ll become one. With that in mind, the top notch cocktails are very reasonably priced, from “contemporaries” like Porn Star martini to “gastro mixology” such as the Squid Ink Sour. The neighbourhood Mad Men are already making it their home.
Fun British pick-n-mix canapés with a distinct French twist are no more than you would expect from founders JJ Goodman and James Hopkins, who won Raymond Blanc’s “The Restaurant”, especially as the man himself is also involved with the venture. The decor is a funky mish mash of classical Victorian with quirky touches and there is a definite speakeasy vibe.
But the biggest launch of this celebrity-tastic few weeks (Baftas, Brits, Elle Style and Fashion week) is the much anticipated W Hotel (pictured below). This global phenomena has spawned a wyld child. Launched with Harvey Weinstein’s BAFTA after-party, Wyld takes glitterati to a new level with the biggest mirror-ball you are ever likely to see in the centre of this seductive first floor night club concept. The luxurious ruby glow beckons you in only if you are on the right list, ensuring the intimate space should remain a place see and be seen. And be seen you can too, by the Leicester Square throng below. But don’t worry, with a Wardour Street entrance you can avoid the crowd. In true W style they’ve cherry picked the best staff from across town and just to make sure they’ve enlisted the Ignite group of Boujis fame too. This is a slick operation. The bar’s specialty is rare, vintage tequilas and the signature Wyld Shot should sustain the rock ‘n’ roll decadence until dawn. If you don’t quite make the cut, the W Lounge next door has style and views enough to spare. Tim Badham is the founder of Innerplace, London’s leading providers of VIP entertainment, including film premieres, fashion shows, launch parties and members club access. www.innerplace.co.uk