JUST across the Thames from Parliament, a grand new English steakhouse named Gillray’s has opened in London’s County Hall, bringing with it an imposing circular cocktail bar with views across to Big Ben. Taking its name from a satirical 18th Century caricaturist, it exudes a fitting old-world gentility and commitment to everything English, evident in its selection of gins, 39 of which hail from Albion.
The cocktails are organised chronologically by Georgian, Victorian, Edwardian and Contemporary Eras. Across the river in Westminster, Michelin-starred Indian restaurant The Quilon has relaunched and in the process begat Q Bar, a standalone, stylish drinking refuge in an area uncelebrated for such establishments. The tome-like drinks menu has an exhaustive wine list, featuring 135 bins from around the globe, 50 different whisky options, 20 beers and creatively spiced cocktails. Karpo is continuing alongside The Gilbert Scott to revivify King’s Cross with some viable drinking options. Most recently, they’ve evolved their basement bar to include leather banquettes, marble and dark woods and a separate entrance. The cocktail list is divided by eras from pre-prohibition to contemporary classics and is accompanied by an immense offering of all-natural wines and biodynamic blends. Additionally, there’s an Absinthe Hour for those keen to dance with the green fairy, either in its traditional slotted spoon preparation or through a more mixological approach.
Other hot places this month include the sultry Soho Mexican delight, Le Bodega Negra, The hot new club The Vaults under Home House and the very Parisian Le Baron at Embassy.
Tim Badham is the founder of Innerplace, London’s leading entertainment concierge service. www.innerplace.co.uk.