There are many theories floating around on the etymology of the word ‘cocktail’; some think it comes from the mispronunciation of the French word for egg cup ‘coquetier’, others think the word originated in the early 19th century where various ‘experts’ were experimenting with ‘stimulating liquors to aid health’! Whatever you choose to believe, you’ll find some of the best cocktail bars in Mayfair, who have made mixology into a true art, so come and try them for yourself. Once sipped, never forgotten!
The Connaught Bar in Mayfair is like stepping into another world. In today’s fast paced environment many of us forget the vital importance of our surroundings when enjoying a sublime experience. This is the place to come – where fashion goes out of the window and style sits in pole position. The décor here is exemplary, created by David Collins Studio – and echoes the spirit of English and Irish Cubist art of the experimental 1920’s. Here you’ll find all you desire from a cocktail too. Mixologists with years of experiences and oodles of ideas are here to conjure up new concoctions to surprise and delight or make you a time-honoured favourite. The choice is yours. From day to night, the vibe is relaxed and purposeful – and is the perfect place for a light snack, evening canapés and an introduction to the very best way to enjoy your drink of choice. Don’t come here to have a quick drink, come here to luxuriate in bar splendour.
Carlos Place, Mayfair W1K 2AL
Celebrating the spirited excitement of Tokyo in the 1930’s where Kissa Clubs (Happening bars) and Shangai drinking dens were all the rage, this unique space is an incredible bar – where you can find your fortune – as far as great cocktails are concerned. In keeping with Gordon Ramsey’s preference to walk on the wild side, this bar echoes the excellence, exuberance and cheeky detail that we’ve all come to expect from this impresario. Expect clean and elegant flavours to tickle your taste buds with such delights as Shiso Smash – roku gin, shiso leaves and lemon or why not align your chi with a cocktail of the same name – grey goose, l’vanille, homemade ‘coffee shu’, cinnamon and expresso? Feeling lucky? Take a gamble on the Lucky Negroni – a roll of three dice seals the fate of your drink – and with 216 combinations of gin, vermouth and bitters, you can only win.
10 Grosvenor Square, Mayfair W1K 6JP
Re-opening on 20 August – Le Magritte Bar captures the exuberance, elegance and fabulous louche qualities that were all the rage in ‘those’ American bars that became legendary in London and Paris during the roaring 1920’s. Close your eyes and think of some of the baddest literary angels around like F. Scott Fitzgerald and Ernest Hemingway, vibrant entertainers like Josephine Baker and Louis Armstrong and latter day superstars like the Rat Pack. If they were around, they’d be here – living it up in this incredible bar with its walnut panelled interior hung with eclectic art and photographs – along with the Magritte painting that gives the room its name. Specialising in traditional superstars in the drinks firmament – bourbons, whiskies and classic cocktails, bring your best self for the bestest time.
The Beaumont, Brown Hart Gardens, Mayfair W1K 6TF
The last word in louche cocktails, Claridge’s Bar Terrace is the place for incredible drinks and plates. Check out their new menu, inspired by the Mediterranean and sip on one of their legendary cocktails. The Flapper is a classic and was created when they first opened their doors in 1998. The drink references the impossibly glamourous ‘Flapper’ ladies during the Art Deco period and the cocktail is a fabulous blend of strawberry, cassis and champagne. If champagne is more your scene, you’ve come to the right place. Claridge’s is the expert – and has a champagne chapter and verse menu of possibilities. For small plates, think beef carpaccio with peppery rocket or white truffle pizza and citrusy spaghtettini. Perfect!
Claridge’s Brook Street, London W1K 4HR
Scott’s was originally opened as an oyster warehouse in 1851 and being amongst the five oldest restaurants in London, has kept true to its history. Established as one of the most fashionable and glamourous restaurants in town, Scott’s has welcomed film stars, politicians and writers through the decades. Rumour has it that it’s where James Bond’s famous dry martini ‘shaken not stirred’ was created, as Bond’s creator, Ian Fleming was a regular visitor. With outdoor seating at the front of this grand dame of restaurants, why not enjoy the taste of the coast while you watch the world go by on Mount Street? Feeling cocktail whimsical? Try a Jabberwocky with Wyborowa vodka, passion fruit and bitters or a Brumble with Havana rum lime juice and mint syrup.
20 Mount Street, London W1K 2HE
If you’re looking for quiet elegance, head for The Pine Bar at The Biltmore Mayfair where you’ll be transfixed by some of the best cocktails in Mayfair. This oasis of calm specialises in being as innovative as they can be. Try the Perfect Hive – which celebrates the 274,000 honey bee hives found around the country or if you fancy a Ploughman’s – then go for it – this long drink is earthy and smokey and inspired by the traditional ploughman’s, with quintessentially British botanical flavours.
44 Grosvenor Square, London W1K 2HP