45 Park Lane, London, W1K 1PN, United Kingdom
Tel: +44(0) 20 7493 4545
Website: View bar's website
Hours: Midday - 12.30am
Style: Hotel bar
Recommended for: Cocktails
Food: Bar snacks
Bar 45 is at 45 Park Lane, a new boutique hotel owned by the Dorchester. The hotel's PR machine has been focused on its restaurant so far, which is American chef Wolfgang Puck's first foray into the UK, and it was sheer chance that we passed by and had a look in.
It was with some surprise then that we found an astonishingly creative bar with some extremely talented barstaff. Behind the stick is Stefano Cossio, all smiles as usual - he's formerly of the Bar at the Dorchester itself and latterly of the American bar at the Savoy. The bar is on a mezzanine floor, though you can't see down to the restaurant and nor can anyone see you because of a 'Venetian blind' effect from wooden slats. The long, narrow space is a rich mix of red leather and glossy photos of Wolfgang's celebrity customers.
Despite Stefano's competency, the bar is (you may say bizarrely) under the watchful and apparently ruthless eye of the head chef. In fact, it's kitchen staff who make the syrups and garnishes, who inspect Stefano's home daily for tidiness and cleanliness. No bad thing, but we know Stefano is more than capable of doing all this himself and it's a little sad he hasn't been given full autonomy.
The drinks menu has been thrust upon him and his colleagues by the Wolfgang machine but based on the imagination of the serves and the execution of the drinks we have no complaints about that at all, (though in time hopefully the barstaff can insert their own drinks). The cocktail menu certainly doesn't look as if it's been dreamt up by corporate-types: creative and unusual simple combinations that include a strong Japanese influence as well as some interesting aperitivos, all served in beautiful Reidel glassware. Home spirit/tea infusions sit in glass teapots on the bar-top. Classics are not listed but we know they can make them.
Fantastic floor service from staff with real personality and a bit of attitude (no kow-towing here) helps us score this a healthy 4.5/5. Can't wait to return, even if the drinks are a hefty £16 each.