The Ampersand Hotel , 10 Harrington Road, London, SW7 3ER, United Kingdom
Tel: +44 020 7591 4410
Website: View bar's website
Hours: Mon-Thurs 12pm-midnight; Fri-Sat 12pm-1am; Sunday 12pm-11pm
Door: Open door
Style: Restaurant bar
Recommended for: Cocktails
Price guide: Middling
Food: Full menu
Images By: diffordsguide.com
The basement bar of this boutique hotel in South Kensington is buzzy, friendly, warm and atmospheric. Located in the museum capital of London, it purports to take its culinary cues from the nearby Victoria & Albert Museum, referencing a "collection of visionary artists" who participated in the European Grand Tour of old in the names of the cocktails on its 12-strong list (though its design cues are rather more modern).
You'll find an original collection of drinks based on a range of spirits from the crowd-pleasing (craft gin du jour Sipsmith features quite a lot) to more esoteric (home-infused tequila), all the time arranging them with original and rarely seen building blocks. Take the Cellini - here we've got Somerset cider brandy, mint, cider liqueur, Amer Picon and Eucalyptus sugar. Or the Amerigo - rye whiskey, Martini Rosso, Galliano coffee liqueur, blackberry liqueur and bitters. It's great to see such imagination in what could so easily have been a standard offering, though the challenge is if the drinks choice is maintained or dumbed down post launch.