Where to Drink

Tim Badham

THINGS are taking off in London this summer, and Zuma’s Rainer Becker is taking his expertise to new heights with Oblix, including a stunning lounge bar perched on the 32nd floor of The Shard. Facing northeast, with superlative views of Tower Bridge and beyond, the subtle but classy design scheme allows the lofty location to do the heavy lifting. The purified, filtered ice blocks help keep the cocktails cool and live bands perform nightly from 9pm. The new place to see and be seen.

Bird of Smithfield, spearheaded by former Ivy chef Alan Bird, is spread over five storeys near Smithfield Market. The venue features delectable drinking options, including their basement speakeasy-style bar The Birdcage. With a design scheme reminiscent of a Soho members’ club and karaoke stage to boot, the room is poised for debauchery. Heading skywards, the rooftop bar overlooks the market and should become a prime destination when the weather warms up.

Covent Garden continues to blossom with two new openings. Christopher’s has just relaunched with a swanky new martini bar. It successfully contemporises the art deco design to stunning effect with avian light fittings and bevelled gold mirrors to compliment the shiny brass-clad main bar. Buzzy but not too overcrowded its ideal for a tete-a-tete and there’s a club room for events downstairs too. Heaton, Butler & Bayne is located in the building that previously housed Europe’s largest manufacturer of stained glass windows. Its basement bar boasts a classic Mad Men atmosphere and design, with mixologists focusing on a different sort of glass than the former denizens.

Mr Fogg’s is the Inception Group’s (Maggies, Bunga Bunga) first venture into Mayfair and it doesn’t disappoint. Taking its name – and whole ethos – from Jules Verne’s Around the World in 80 Days, the venue recreates the eponymous adventurer’s home with artefacts and trinkets including exotic taxidermy, annotated maps and even his balloon. For fun theatrics, and excellent classic cocktails (from the former manager of The Coburg Bar at The Connaught) not to mention a welcome telegram from Phileas and being greeted by Passepartout, Mr Fogg’s makes a lively and imaginative addition to the area.

Tim Badham is the founder of Innerplace, London’s personal concierge service. innerplace.co.uk @innerplaceLDN