Five bars to send 2020 packing with style this Christmas
Baby, it’s cold outside! For the second grand post-lockdown reopening, many of London’s bars and eateries have set up cosy terraces and warm outdoor spaces, solving the urgent dilemma of catching up with mates while staying Covid and frostbite-free. In addition to going through intense sanitisation procedures, venues have been colourfully decorated, filled with charm for a special (and safe) evening out. The drinks industry is raring to welcome its guests, inside or out, and treat them to tried-and-tested cocktails as well as updated lists. Boozy meetings will taste great at local bars, and we strongly suggest you finally discover that venue round the corner and give them a boost – but for extra bling and something a bit different we’ve pulled together a topnotch list of our festive recommendations. There is the sweet, the elegant and the new – yes, new openings are on the horizon – and the excitement is already stirring.
The Blind Pig
It might sound like the setting for a clandestine meeting, with its semi-hidden location and could-be code name, but the Blind Pig is a must-visit this jolly season. Their current cocktail menu is a collection of their greatest hits, the in-demand bestsellers snuggled with newcomers showcasing the bar’s creative spirit. There is a lingering sugariness at the bottom, in the body and at the foamy top of the majority of the drinks, enough to sweeten even Scrooge. Kintergarten Cup and Mr Tumnus’ Tumnus Tipple Delight are leaders in this vibrantly hued syrupy dance.
The Connaught Bar
The elegant atmosphere and the theatre of the preparation make for the perfect twist on a classic. Located at the heart of chic Mayfair, the Connaught Bar is synonymous with outstanding, polished mixology; right from the entrance, the curated interior immerses the guest in a world of sophistication. And as if the team (led by Agostino Perrone, Giorgio Bargiani and Maura Milia) weren’t already held in longstanding esteem, the venue has also been newly awarded the accolade of World’s Best Bar 2020. No excuse: the Connaught Martini is an absolute necessity to close this year and toast an amazing 2021.
The floor below Frog by Adam Handling reveals an underworld of deliciously crafted mixology. The concoctions strike a balance between sustainability and rich flavour, matching blissfully with the bar snacks straight from the restaurant kitchen upstairs. Clear liquids encapsulating the essence and texture of soft fruits, mingled with superior liqueurs, are enjoyed in a private space that mimics an enchanted forest. Don’t leave without sampling the British Tea Company.
Mezcaleria at Kol
Drumroll, please, for one of the most interesting openings of the year. Santiago Lastra’s Kol has expanded to several different spaces, and from 12th December his Marylebone venue will welcome guests for a unique Mexican drinking experience. Mezcal and agave spirits, which are gradually making their mark on more and more cocktail menus, are the foundations here. Maxim Schulte, previously head bartender at the American Bar at the Savoy, has crafted a list of unique libations, drawing inspiration from Mexican traditions and seasonal British ingredients, with a carefully sourced selection of pure spirits (Sloe and Grape Mezcal Negroni is already tantalising our taste buds). Antojitos (“little cravings”) – the snack menu, featuring Santiago’s interpretation of traditional Mexican street food – completes the experience.
To book a table at Mezcaleria at Kol, 9 Seymour Street, W1H 7BA call 020 3829 6888 or visit here.
What would a snowy view of the sunset through a block of polar ice be like? Though we can predict pretty low temperatures in the city this winter, picturesque opportunities such as this are scarce. Nonetheless, Skylight proposes an alternative: the incomparable spectacle of a rose-tinted sun going down behind London’s skyline, accompanied by a heady cocktail, in one of the bar’s outdoor igloos. Classic winter warmers such as Mulled Wine or Boozy Hot Chocolate are on the list, but we are pretty sure the intriguing Winter Sour or a Picante would keep things snug just as well.
To book a table at Skylight Rooftop, Tobacco Dock, Pennington Street, E1W 2SF visit here.