Starting with Japan, the chic Kyashii has just re-launched on Upper St Martin’s Lane offering a sophisticated, ultra modern hideaway in which to enjoy your sake. Above ground you’ll find a sleek white champagne lounge and glossy, dark mezzanine bar, while the restaurant rooms downstairs are positively Bond-esque with wall-to-wall fish tanks and futuristic lights. No longer Kingly Club-owned, the new management has introduced less exorbitant prices with a reasonable Japanese and pan-Asian menu and after-work “Shaker” sessions with two-for-one cocktails. Well worth re-discovering.
To continue on the tour, for further Asian influence you could drop into Chinawhite, Taman Gang or even Funkybuddah (with Buddha Bar recently departed) and for African influence there is, of course, the new Shaka Zulu or the Moroccan classic (but recently refurbished) Momo on Heddon Street. Representing the Middle East we have champagne overflowing at Merah on Wells Street.
Moving to Europe, for France there‘s the quirky yet stylish Sketch on Conduit Street and for Italy, Luxx on New Burlington Street, along with the still achingly trendy Polpo and its new little sister Polpetto (confusingly on top of the French House). The champagne bar at the effortlessly stylish and refreshingly Icelandic Texture on Portman Square bridges the mid Atlantic gap.
Meanwhile, American Bar at the Stafford is best in class for the USA, with Floridita’s Cuban passion and the Argentinean Gaucho bars making a showing for South America (there’s Sushinho on Kings Road too if you don’t mind Japanese with your Brazilian). Mahiki and Kanaloa’s tongue in cheek Tiki-ness take us round to the South Pacific. Closer to home it’s hard to beat the cigar bar at Boisdale for Scottish influence and – for something less formal – the new Platform down by London Bridge for good old Blighty, with its local ciders and farm to table feasts.
If you are looking for a mish-mash of the international Jet Set head for Maddox or Cuckoo but there is also the brand new Jet Lounge on Haymarket for clientele waiting to depart to the crazy late-night Jet Black at a very antisocial hour.
We have, of course, skipped Australia’s lovely Walkabout pubs which are only for very special occasions, as I’m sure you know all too well.
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.