Words by Karen Fick on 06-Mar-2014

Address: 87 Sloane Avenue, London, SW3 3DX, United Kingdom
Tel: +44 (0)20 7584 9901
Website: view Galante’s website
Style: Cocktail bar
Food: Bar Snacks


Slicker and sporting a glossier Chelsea set than next door Barts, this sparkling symphony in shiny silver, crystal and black takes its heart from the glamorous Art Deco cocktail bars of Buenos Aires in the 1920s and 30s. Thickly padded blonde-gold banquettes curve luxuriously into intimate areas with low black tables on silver pedestals on plush black carpet. Big blocky glass chandeliers and chunky candleholders send light shimmering off the mirrored walls and glittering floor. The white back-lit side walls of the central island bar throw a cooling and sophisticated blue-white disco wash over it all and the music with its fairly heavy beat gets louder as the evening goes on. There's such a feel of Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers on an ocean liner, that what with that dazzling floor surface, you almost expect sea spray and not Sloane Avenue beyond the wall of faceted windows running down one side. And it's all absolutely immaculate, from the gleaming counter to the beautifully turned out glamorous staff and exquisitely presented cocktails.

Santiago Policastro, or Pichín, was renowned throughout South America as the most distinguished bartender in Argentina. His remarkable drinks earned him the title 'El Barman Galante' and it's his inspiration that holds sway over the supremely good retro cocktails from the golden age of Buenos Aires alongside innovative Argentine influenced creations that are served here on individual silver coasters. Little known (on these shores) domestic spirits and liqueurs paired with more familiar ingredients mirror the nation's predilection for bitter, robust flavours and strong drinks. Freshly prepared ingredients like rhubarb puree and ginger really sing through and all the cocktails are designed to leave a fresh clean palate as the perfect aperitif before an Argentinian steak in next door sister restaurant Gaucho. Just like everything else they do here, the rest of the drinks list is top notch, and the wine list is of course entirely Argentinian.