London’s restaurant scene has continued to blossom recently – and luckily for those who favour the liquid diet, most of them come complete with adjoining bars. The first and latest of such venues is the Zédel Brasserie, Bar & Cabaret, opened by the partners responsible for destination dining like The Wolseley. Alongside the Parisian brasserie, Zédel comprises of The Crazy Coqs, a live entertainment space awash with Art Deco opulence, and Bar Américain, a classic cocktail bar drawing inspiration from 1940s NYC with a debonair design that would put Clark Gable at ease.
Over in Knightsbridge, the Bulgari Hotel recently opened, with a bar aptly titled Il Bar. It is really something to behold, with the ceiling finished in titanium, the floor in black granite, plenty of polished mahogany, mirrored surfaces and as its centrepiece a striking, hammered stainless steel bar with a thick glass top.
Over in the City, the most high-flying launch of the summer is taking place on top of the Heron Tower with the opening of SushiSamba. Guests will take express scenic lifts to arrive at a venue boasting the highest outdoor terraces in London with a total capacity of 650 guests and two exclusive bars serving cocktails that take their inspiration from Peru, Brazil and Japan.
Nearby in Shoreditch, Mark Hix opened Tramshed in what was formerly an electricity generating facility for the Tramway System and there still remains a palpable buzz in the air. Tramshed features an art gallery named Cock and Bull (chicken and steak are the only two main courses on the menu) as well as a lounge bar, where you can imbibe cocktails, concocted by resident Hixologist Nick Strangeway, underneath the fixed gaze of a cow and cockerel immersed in formeldahyde, courtesy of Damien Hirst.
If you’re more in the mood for something easy and cheesy, go downstairs at King’s Road’s newest pizza joint Brooklyn Bite and kick back in a hip speakeasy lair complete with a mural of the Brooklyn Bridge and lipstick red banquettes. Across the Thames in Battersea, steakhouse The Gaslight Grill has an interminable list of gins and a louche Victorian-country-house-meets-gin-palace vibe. Perhaps the best thing about all of these bars: if you whet your appetite, there will always be a restaurant nearby to dine in. Tim Badham is the founder of Innerplace, London’s leading entertainment concierge service. www.innerplace.co.uk.