The Most Stylish Bars for London Fashion Week
Where does the #FashPack drink when the London Fashion Week shows are over? At the capital’s trendiest hotspots, of course. The Resident picks out the bars where London’s most fashionable head to refuel…
Lead image: SushiSamba Covent Garden
1 The Parrot, Aldwych
The Parrot bar at The Waldorf, originally launched by Idris Elba, offers fashion-conscious consumers cocktails that are as stylish as the SS20 pieces on the catwalk. The Kingston Parakeet cocktail, the special-edition drink created for February’s London Fashion Week, was a dreamy mix of Absolut Elyx Vodka, Aperol Italian Bitter and creamy fig liqueur, combined with Franklin & Sons Rhubarb with Hibiscus Tonic Water and served up in a beautiful ocean-inspired glass. There’s no word on a special for LFW this time around, but pretty much everything the bar serves up is super Instagramable, featuring dry ice and fabulous glassware. Plus, there’s live music every evening and unannounced secret shows are always a hit.
45 Aldwych WC2B 4DW; theparrotldn.co.uk
2 Beaufort Bar at The Savoy
Mere minutes from all the LFW action, The Savoy is a place of timeless elegance and the dramatic jet-black and burnished gold décor of it Beaufort Bar make the perfect backdrop for post-show drinks. Beaufort Bar’s Music, Magic and Drama menu celebrates The Savoy’s theatrical history through three distinct menu sections: Music is designed for the early evening, with grower champagnes and English sparkling wines; Music is complex and intriguing with a focus on gin; and Drama alludes to the bar’s previous incarnation as The Savoy’s cabaret stage, with dark, atmospheric whisky-based drinks.
Strand WC2R 0EZ; fairmont.com/savoy-london
3 Donovan Bar at Brown’s Hotel, Mayfair
Donovan Bar, residing in one of London’s most iconic hotels, has long been known as one of London’s most intimate and sophisticated drinking dens, hosting gatherings of the most glamorous faces of Mayfair’s elite fashion and art scene. The bar, named for iconic 60s photographer Terence Donovan, has devised a London Fashion Week special – the In The Frow. Designed with fashionistas in mind, the vivid blue tipple captures the energy and creativity of the city during Fashion Week and ought to put paid to any ‘Fashion Week Fatigue’ (available from 13-17 September). Try The Twiggy, too. The tribute to the model and muse captures her freshness, vibrancy and fun in a blend of Grey Goose vanilla vodka, passion fruit, coffee aroma, egg white and Champagne.
Albemarle Street, Mayfair W1S 4BP; roccofortehotels.com
4 Nobu Berkeley St, Mayfair
An instant hit from the day it opened in 2005, Peruvian-Japanese restaurant Nobu continues to cast its spell over discerning Londoners, celebrities and fashionistas. The Lounge Bar serves up picture-perfect cocktails such as the Femme Fatale, with Sochu, JJ Whitley Vodka, Liqueur de Violette and Elderflower Liquor, served in a ‘lipstick kissed’ martini glass and poisoned right in front of you. Or how about a Jalapeno & Ginger Martini? With JJ Whitley Vodka, jalapeno and ginger liquor, basil leaves and a touch of citrus, that’s got to give the metabolism a kick? The circle of banquettes in the centre of the bar is still the spot to see, to be seen and to discretely gossip about your fellow clientele.
15 Berkeley Street, Mayfair W1J 8DY; noburestaurants.com
5 Fire Bar, Heddon Street
Did you know that Ice Bar has a grown up sister? Well it does, called Fire Bar, which is all kinds of simple genius. The whole venue, which also squirrels away the excellent Yuu Kitchen downstairs, underwent a complete refurb as part of its 15th birthday. Not only do you not have to don thermal-wear and wreck your hair, the cocktails are great. Located on Heddon Street, a cute little hidden mews off Regent Street, it’s perfectly located for those who like to be where the action is, but need a little breathing space. The outdoor terrace is the perfect spot to sip on Fire Bar’s creative cocktails, and the cocktail of the month, The Colour Purple, is a smash. Inspired by the old time classic novel and film The Colour Purple, it combines Brockmans Premium Gin, Violet Liquor, Elderflower syrup and is best served with Fever Tree Aromatic Tonic. It tastes a little like Parma Violets, and is the perfect post-LFW sip.
31-33 Heddon Street, Mayfair W1B 4BN; icebarlondon.com
6 Imperial Treasure London, St James’s
London’s newest fine-dining Chinese restaurant, Imperial Treasure, is located just moments from The Strand, and it has a rather lovely bar… For a quick pit-stop between shows, head to the grand onyx bar for the exclusive LFW package, which includes a trio of steamed dim sum, alongside a choice of cocktail for £20 (available 9-17 September). For an intimate dinner, the main restaurant is a haven of Chinese cool featuring iconic dishes such as the signature Peking duck, live seafood and swanky cocktails with an Asian twist.
9 Waterloo Place, St James’s SW1Y 4BE; imperialtreasure.com
7 Quaglino’s, St James
Celebrate LFW at the original and iconic fashionista haunt, Quaglino’s. The stomping ground of the ultimate guru’s, Eddy and Patsy, ‘Quags’ maintains it absolutely fabulous appeal as a stalwart of the London scene with live music every Tuesday to Saturday. Pop in after a catwalk show and sip on Quaglino’s new futuristic cocktail menu, inspired by sustainability. Drinks feature clarified milk and are infused with vegetable roots – nothing goes to waste here. Try The Green Revolution, with Michter’s Rye, yellow chartreuse, lime, beer honey, matcha tea and pistachio foam.
16 Bury Street, St James SW1Y 6AJ; quaglinos-restaurant.co.uk
8 Manetta’s Bar, Mayfair
Hidden below the bustling streets of London’s most exclusive neighbourhood is Manetta’s Bar, a decadent den steeped in rich history and oozing old school glamour. The intimate Sheraton-style sofas are the perfect spot for a post LFW tête-à-tête over inventive cocktails and indulgent nightcaps, or pull up one of the beautiful red and black bar stools to watch the masterful mixologists at work.
39 Clarges Street, Mayfair W1J 7EW; flemings-mayfair.co.uk
9 The Vault, Milroy’s, Soho
Whisky drinkers should remember this name – London’s oldest whisky shop, founded by the Milroy brothers, has a speakeasy-style cocktail bar in the basement called The Vault. Owner Simo, formerly of Coal Vaults, has devised a great selection of cocktails made with house-infused spirits. Highlights include the Detox Retox, made with apple, cucumber, celery and spinach vodka blend and lemon sorbet, as well as Handsome Jack, with Cognac, rye, Aperol, Chartreuse, Red Vermouth, maple and bitters.
3 Greek Street, Soho W1D 4NX; thevaultsoho.co.uk
10 SUSHISAMBA Covent Garden
One of the hottest dining spots to open last year, SUSHISAMBA Covent Garden has a lovely Opera Terrace Balcony overlooking the Covent Garden Piazza should the sun shine. If not, indoors is a botanical oasis with a living ceiling over the bar area that keeps things tropical whatever the weather. Known for its unique blend of Japanese, Brazilian and Peruvian culture and cuisine, you’ll find great food from robata grills to sushi, and fantastic cocktails to toast your fashionista efforts. A great spots to see and be seen.
35 The Market Building, Covent Garden WC2E 8RF; sushisamba.com
11 Balthazar, Covent Garden
Balthazar is loved for serving up brilliant brunches, but the stylish American Whiskey bar has an impressive drinks list making it the perfect central London spot to enjoy a cocktail or two. Sip on Balthazar’s signature creations, such as the Screaming Viking (an interesting twist on a margarita), the Lipsticks at Dawn (with vodka, Aperol, St Germain Elderflower Liqueur, grapefruit juice and passion fruit) or the Balthazar Fizz (Beefeater Gin, lemon juice, gomme and orange blossom. The bar also has over 150 varieties of American whiskey, and from 10pm every day its Manhattan Hour, when you can order Manhattan cocktails for £10.
4-6 Russell Street WC2B 5HZ; balthazarlondon.com
12 Daphne’s, South Kensington
This South Ken institution has been hosting London’s finest for over 50 years. A Caprice Holdings establishment, you know you’re in for a treat. The beautiful bar was inspired by the Venetian drinking dens of the Grand Tour, and the Italian-inspired cocktails are some of the most decadent drinks you’ll find in Chelsea. Try the Half Century – Daphne’s classic Negroni made with Plymouth Navy Gin, Campari, Cynar and Aged Vermouth Blend, or a Daphne’s Martini, with Grey Goose or Tanqueray 10, Bitters and Dry Vermouth. Don’t be surprised if you see an A-lister sipping on a Gin & Deuce at this SW3 hotspot.
112 Draycott Avenue, South Kensington SW3 3AE; daphnes-restaurant.co.uk
13 Pennethorne’s, Somerset House
Fashion week may have moved from its Somerset House home, but that doesn’t mean London’s style set won’t be hanging out in this iconic setting (the British Fashion Council are still based there). Pennethorne’s cafe/bar serves up everything from British bubbles brand Nyetimber to fresh juices and cocktails. It’s well worth sampling the all-day dining menu, too. Tasty nibbles and small plates including black truffle crisps to sauteed kale, sweet potato and crushed avo on toast are the perfect accompaniment to a glass of fizz.
New Wing Somerset House, Strand WC2R 1LA; pennethornescafe.co.uk