49-50 St. John's Square, (off Clerkenwell Rd), London, EC1V 4JJ , United Kingdom
Tel: +44 (0)20 7324 4545
Website: View bar's website
Hours: Sun-Wed 10am-midnight, Thu-Sat 10am-1am
Door: Make reservation
Style: Lounge bar
Recommended for: Aperitivos, Cocktails, Romantic
Price guide: Middling
Food: Plates & dishes
Images By: diffordsguide.com
Overseen by eminent mixologist Tony Conigliaro, this homely cocktail lounge sprawls across the ground floor of a fabulous 13 room hotel formed by knocking two Georgian townhouses together.
The interior, by acclaimed designer Russell Sage, is stuffed full of curiosities, rich carpets, eclectic furniture - like the front room of a rich, well-travelled eccentric relative. Downstairs there's a games room with ping pong and a tiny smoking area.
Despite Tony's form as London's pre-eminent bartending scientist and deconstructor of classic cocktails, like his bar at 69 Colebrook Row in Islington, the list here is relatively restrained and more traditionally classic in appearance than anything that suggests the contents were invented in test-tubes. That said, there is plenty of bartending gastronomy at play, with reductions, homemade 'aromatics', cordials and tinctures in evidence. The Master at Arms - a combination of Myers's Rum, a port 'evaporation' and homemade grenadine, served in a suitably maritime-decorated glass- has been on the list since the bar opened and is a 'must try' experience.
Best to book a table here as it's cosy and busy - there are but three seats at the bar and while there's a private dining room that's sometimes opened up for regular service, it's unwise simply to turn up. Service is friendly and the atmosphere relaxed and buzzy. Complement your drinks with a range of charcuterie, 'supper bowls' of risotto and beef and mashed potato and other various nibbles.