THERE have been a number of bar openings dotted around the capital in recent weeks. The iconic Oxo Tower (www.harveynichols.com/restaurants/oxo-tower-london) has seen the launch of its new bar with stunning views across the Thames to St Pauls and beyond. The impressive space mixes classic cruise liner-esque lines with modern touches provided by designer Shaun Clarkson, including a sparkly light inset bar and mustard yellow furniture. There’s also an intriguing cocktail list featuring exotic rums and sours. Bar 92, tucked away on Wigmore Street (not to be confused with No 92 in Notting Hill), is also new and offers the perfect hidden retreat after a hard day’s Christmas shopping at Selfridges. This cool, intimate basement bar has US influences, with diner stools and 50s and 60s photography, but is brought up to date with ostrich leather sofas and a mirrored wall, giving it a contemporary look with a seductive atmosphere. Just down the road on Seymour Place there’s new wine bar Vinoteca (www.vinoteca.co.uk), whose older sibling has been so successful in Farringdon. Doing the simple things well, it offers one of the best-value ways to sample fantastic wines and even lets you buy them to take away at retail prices.
The Portman Village area (Seymour Place, Quebec Street and thereabouts) is buzzing at the moment with the just-opened Grazing Goat public house and hotel from the excellent Cubitt House Group. The new Inamo St James (www.inamo-stjames.com) has launched last week with its high tech wizardry imported from Soho. A destination bar in its own right attached to the interactive restaurant, they are taking drink seriously with a handpicked, talented bar team. The interior focuses on distinctive natural elements and has its own Japanese garden, with impressive technology throughout.
If you’re looking for old-school interaction with your drinks, you should try the new Baranis (www.baranis.co.uk) in Chancery Lane, which comes complete with a Petanque court for a spot of boules with friends or new acquaintances. It’s on a beautiful site in the grand vaulted cellar of an old auction house and has chic restaurant Cigalon upstairs too. In another old auction house cellar on the other side of town, Guy Pelly’s huge and impressive Public nightclub (www.public.uk.com) finally launched last week on the King’s Road.
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.