There is no limit of hidden and not-so-hidden hot spots to frequent in London. In fact, there are over 4000 pubs and bars to sample any day of the week! Artist, former model and London-aficionado Joanne Salley, shares her week of top tipples and beloved bars with THE STYLE EDIT’s Editor Jenny Taggart
Let’s start with ‘The Monday Blues’ and Boisdale Belgravia. Not for the weekend unless you hold a members card – it’s the perfect place if you want to relax and mull over the week ahead. Personally I am not a smoker but if I was, you would find me on the cigar terrace with a Cohiba Corona, rubbing shoulders with Arnold Schwarzenegger. Instead though, I will be in the McDonald Bar listening to smooth 40’s jazz classics. The colour palette is a little regal – expect lots of red and a hearty splash of tartan – yet the interior is old school and homely, where your moth-eaten Pringle won’t look out of place.
If like me, you have a love affair with old records, on the lower level of Boisdale Mayfair (Belgravia’s sister bar) you can kick back with an ‘Old Fashioned’ cocktail, nibble on Rock Oysters and listen to the husky drawl of Leonard Cohen in the Vinyl Bar, offering the perfect titillating Tuesday.
On Wednesdays I tend to work late, due to a somewhat slow start to the week, so for an after work home-from-home atmosphere in a ‘FRIENDS’ style setting I go knocking on The Little Yellow Door in Notting Hill. Based on a flat share concept with a relaxed living room vibe, it’s easy to settle in for the night. Winning details include the ‘emoji menu’ and the punchy (can’t help but wince) strawberry sour. Sadly closed until January 2018 for refurbishment, if I happened to get myself arrested for attempted breaking and entering to my favourite haunt I might just find myself at Evans and Peel Detective Agency. Although you experience a dash of delightful fiction when being questioned by Sergeant Bloom, you may well feel guilty of the crime you have invented. The true excitement is being led through a secret bookcase into a 1920s style candlelit bar. Order a Martini cocktail, flirt with your partner and enjoy a bit of theatrics as you are transported back in time.
For more of the unusual, Mr. Fogg’s Gin Parlour – with its curious Victorian artifacts collected by the explorer of the same name – provides even the most tongue-tied couple with something to talk about. The adventurous cocktails will leave your imagination running wild! Talking of cocktails, you can’t beat the array of creativity: ice cubes as big as golf balls, teeth floating in your tipple and some even alight with fire. A little further out if you are traveling from central London, but the Cocktail Trading Company in Bethnal Green Road is worth the trek especially if their in-house R&B pianist is playing. Scarfes Bar at the Rosewood is perfect for a winter warmer by the open fire, while Zetter Townhouse is ideal if you fancy sinking into a leather Chesterfield armchair and savouring a cocktail by expert mixologist Tony Conigliaro.
If the earlier half of the week has been all about comfort – flats and no make up – then now is the time to dust off the little black dress and swing on the stilettos. Bring on Thursday and the weekend warm up! For a room with a view you can’t go higher than Aqua Shard. Elegant and oozing sophistication – I suggest arriving early to save a pitch by the window and capture the grey of London switch to an illumination of yellow and red lights against the purple-black backdrop of the city. If you want to stick to lofty heights, but prefer to admire The Shard from a short distance I suggest a champagne toast in Vertigo 42. At 600 ft above street level, the panoramic views are nothing short of breathtaking.
Next, my favorite: Duck and Waffle in the Herron Tower. Open 24/7, your Thursday night need not end yet! If you’re in the mood for another beautiful display, drop two floors down to Sushisamba to catch the last rays as the sun sets. With more cocktail choices than days of the year, you’ll find something to tickle every taste bud on the extensive drinks menu. If heights aren’t for you then find your way back to ground level and meander to Dandelyan, offering views of the city Thames-side. You’ll have a close-up and personal picture of the iconic buildings from the dusty pink leather never-ending banquette.
It’s time for true weekend glamour and a quick one stop drink at Sexy Fish before a longer one at Isabel. With fashion as its focus, the ‘who’s who’ of the London fash-pack are here. Aside from spotting the rich and famous, society restaurateur Juan Santa Cruz will quickly distract you with his mouth watering menu. Highly knowledgeable and passionate about his ‘babies’, Juan is the silverfox Clooney of the restaurant world and all his venues are simply stunning.
Finally my last offering – The Fumoir Bar, secreted inside the timeless glamour of Claridge’s art deco interior it is the perfect quintessential hidden gem. My best kept secret no longer I fear, but I’m happy to share a saffron sidecar with you on a lazy Sunday afternoon. Enjoy!