Dickie’s Bar at Corrigan’s in Mayfair
When you think of Mayfair cocktails, your mind probably goes to the kind of elegant, lavishly appointed, but ever so slightly stuffy hotel bars from the likes of The Connaught, The Dorchester and Claridge’s. While these are all stunning places to drink, the recently refurbished Dickie’s Bar, which inhabits one end of Corrigan’s restaurant on Upper Grosvenor St, takes that Mayfair elegance and injects a little casual cool.
The bar is sumptuous in its appearance, with art-deco patterned banquettes, polished metal surfaces and a gorgeously intricate laser-cut screen separating it from the restaurant. But there’s a hint of mischief in the surroundings as well – surreal flower-strewn portraits hang on the walls, the music is jaunty swing and the bartenders are dressed in distinctly Hackney-esque denim shirts and aprons. Not a white jacket or bow tie in sight. Bar manager Daniel keeps the atmosphere light with cheery explanations of the menu and an obvious enthusiasm for the bar’s philosophy.
Celebrity chef Richard Corrigan is at the helm in the restaurant, and the revamped bar takes its inspiration from his Irish estate. All of the drinks utilise ingredients that Corrigan grows or aims to grow there, and there’s a strong emphasis on sustainable produce. The menu is split into your standard cocktails, or “mixed drinks”, as they’re labelled, and a selection of highballs – simple two or three-ingredient drinks which all feature sodas handmade in the bar. The life of the estate is affectionately reflected in a series of Punch-style cartoons in the menu, which add a welcome touch of jollity.
The drinks might be on the Mayfair end of the price scale – £16 for most of the cocktails, with the highballs coming in at £12 – but the quality is correspondingly high. They’re presented in refreshingly simple style: exquisite glassware and perfectly clear, hand-cut ice. There are no complicated garnishes or theatrical presentation. From the Annual portion of the menu, which focuses on strictly seasonal drinks, Daniel presented us with the Pleasure Garden, which is one of only two drinks – in recent memory – that I’ve desperately wanted to replicate at home. A mix of gin, Poire William eau-de-vie, Dolin Blanc vermouth, cardamom and verjus, it’s one of those complex, delicate, perfectly balanced creations that will really linger in your memory. The Professional Stalker gave a little more heft, with a split base of whiskey and cognac topped off with fig and allspice, which last ingredient gives it a slightly Christmassy element.
The highballs are well worth a try: we had the Irish Whiskey & Apricot, a thirst-quenching cooler with the peaty whiskey perfectly complemented by the tart fruitiness of apricot soda. Another summer cocktail, the Fairy Fort, accomplished the tricky task of toning down tequila, smoothing it out with pisco, Lillet Rose, rhubarb, citrus and cinnamon. The bar team claim a special pleasure in getting their audience to appreciate flavours they may not have previously enjoyed, and this would certainly win over most tequila haters.
All in all, Dickie’s provides a very charming, and decidedly un-stuffy experience in the heart of Mayfair. One last shout must go to the short snack menu – in the fried stuffed olives, Dickie’s has found the ideal food accompaniment for any alcoholic beverage. All other bars should follow suit immediately.★★★★★Drinks ▮▮▮▮▮▮▮▮▮▮Service ▮▮▮▮▮▮▮▮▮▮
Photos: Filippo L’Astorina
To book a table at Dickie’s Bar, 28 Upper Grosvenor St London W1K 7EH, call 020 7758 4141 or visit here.