The Connaught Bar
May 11, 2018
Soaked in old school prestige, there’s really something quite special about the Connaught Bar – and it’s not just its infamous martini trolley. As we enter in on a busy Friday night, the place is lightly buzzing with classic piano music, a laid-back vibe rather than the expected pomp from the fancy setting.
Cubist and Art-Deco inspired, the place is glinting in mirrors. It’s a true experience to prop up by the bar, like we do, as this is where all the action’s happening, with sharp-suited bartenders whipping up all sorts of interesting drinks – there’s plumes of smoke, delicious spritzes from perfume-style bottles and hand-carved ice cubes, cut from a giant slab. We could sit here all night in wonder at the theatre, but a table has just become free, so we prise ourselves away from the action in exchange for the comfort of a cosy armchair.
Welcomed with a tasty zesty mini ‘starter’ martini to get our palette warmed up, along with a bowl of juicy green olives and a stack of artisanal cheesy biscuits. On a busy Friday night, it’s a five-minute wait for the martini trolley (which apparently is way too long in Connaught time), so we’re treated to a glass of crisp Champagne to keep us watered while we wait – now that’s what you call customer service! We’re only half way through our fizz when the barman appears behind a set of wheels; an ornate cocktail trolley. The classic serve is Tanqueray No. 10 Gin, dry vermouth and your choice of flavoured bitters, which he stirs for a good few minutes and then theatrically pours from a great height into the cocktail glasses, finishing with a zesty spritz of lemon peel that is then left to slink into the drink. The result is a deliciously cold, fresh-tasting martini, with a very subtle hint of the flavoured bitters (in our case, savoury coriander).
With these cocktails ringing in at £20 a pop, a night is reserved for special events only. Although, it’s not too eye-watering when you factor in the quality of the cocktails, bountiful delicious snacks (constantly refilled without request) along with a few boozy extras thrown in for fun. If you’re into your drinks – especially martinis – this is a not-to-miss spot, even if you just do it once. So dress up, look smart and get yourself to Mayfair, the Connaught martini trolley is waiting.