Ladder Shed at Chiltern Firehouse
Photography by Alicja Rymarowicz
Words by Simon Difford on 09-Jan-2015
1 Chiltern Street, (near Blandford St), London, W1U 7PA, United Kingdom
Tel: +44 (0)20 7073 7676
Website: View bar's website
Hours: Daily till late
Door: Make reservation
Style: Hotel bar
Recommended for: Alfresco, Aperitivos, Cocktails, Food, Fun/atmosphere, Late night, Romantic, Wine
Price guide: High-end
Food: Full menu
Owned by: André Balazs
This hotel, restaurant, bar and cobbled garden courtyard are housed in a former Grade II listed gothic Victorian fire station on the eponymous upmarket Marylebone backstreet. Since opening in February 2014, Chiltern Firehouse has been a magnet to A-listers with paparazzi lurking by the discrete back door on Broadstone Place mews to snap those sneaking out in the early hours.
There are three drinking spots at Chiltern, one adjacent to the swanky New York-style brasserie, the Aperitif Bar is accessible to all - well those who have booked a table at the restaurant anyway. As the name suggests this specialises in aperitif and aperitif cocktails with an impressive range of 40 different vermouths.
A good bar has good loos and the ones at Chiltern, which lie in the basement beneath the restaurant, are particularly special. Within the loos mirrored doors marked 'cigarettes and men' in the ladies and 'women and wine' in the gents give access to the infamous smoking terrace, actually a bar for smokers decorated with Hogarth prints depicting acts of immorality.
The third bar, the Ladder Shed is only accessible to a lucky few so predictably is our favourite. This is officially only open to residents and their guests, who are required to sign the black leather guest book. A gambling chip or playing card allows re-entry to this coveted area for those who leave to dine in the restaurant.
So named due to being where firemen once stored their ladders, the Ladder Shed has something of an airy colonial feel with wicker chairs and banquette seating surrounding a pink marble bar counter which juts out into the first room and bashes through a framed opening in the wall to emerge in the larger room beyond. Both rooms are made warmer and cosier by flickering mahogany-panelled fireplaces. Indeed, a warm glow prevails - both from the atmospheric lighting and the faces of the stylish guests.
White-jacketed staff expertly and stylishly prepare killer cocktails from a menu curated by beverage manager, Luis Simones and head bartender Davide Zanardo. All in all this is a very special bar and experience but remember it is only accessible to hotel guests. Get a room!