London always experiences a bit of a lull in January, but there are still some notable new arrivals you may have missed around town. The first of such is The Luggage Room, nestled neatly into the north-eastern corner of Grosvenor Square, just next to Maze and Maze Grill. It takes its name from its previous incarnation at the Marriot next door, however it’s now accessed via a separate, clandestine entrance complete with speakeasy-style sliding metal hatch. They seem to have imported Shoreditch’s basement cocktail parlour concept and polished it up for Mayfair. The interior exudes art deco elegance, with a bounty of dark brown leather banquettes and varnished wooden panelling, marble flooring and handcrafted wine cabinets. The cocktail menu, orchestrated by bar manager Abdulai Kpekawa, hinges on British classics.
In revitalised Fitzrovia, the Newman Street Tavern opened recently near Sanderson London and has already won praise for its in-house butchery and elegant atmosphere. The bar area downstairs is a great place to kick back, with a less formal ambience spurred on by a colourful collection of photos and prints paying homage to British game and livestock. The lynchpin of the operation is the crustacea bar, fashioned from a deep ceramic trough, from which craft beer from Hackney Wick’s Crate Brewery is served. The selection of Bloody Marys is enough to put a person in a sanguine humour, as is the carefully conceived wine list.
In Islington, Neil Rankin at John Salt’s refit is definitely worth a trip. Spread over a ground floor and a mezzanine level, the bar features a rusticated, industrial vibe, which prioritises liveliness over lavishness. Owner 580 Group (Owl & Pussycat, Field Day and Beacons Festivals) has access to an enviable stable of music industry contacts, so on weekends the bar is frequented by talented DJs playing late sets. Factor in craft beers and cocktails with one of the best bar snacks in Britain (frites with pulled pork and kim chi) for midnight bliss.
Tim Badham is the founder of Innerplace, London’s most personal and exclusive concierge service. www.innerplace.co.uk