I have a confession to make; despite being a devout born and bred Londoner, I rarely get around to checking out the iconic and best cocktail bars in this great city, this series of articles aims to readdress that. This week is the Connaught Bar.
They describe themselves as “a hidden gem, at the heart of the hotel, the Champagne Room is a beautiful yet intimate place”.
And they could not be more accurate.
Located amongst the mansions of Mayfair, on the ground floor of the luxury Connaught hotel, this is a superb place to grab a cocktail. But do not expect much change of a £50 note for two drinks, you won’t care though as the experience makes it worth it.
I was alerted to this place by a client who had been treated to drinks there for her birthday and reported back to me knowing that I’d love an intriguing whisky experience in an iconic setting.
When you enter the space you are immediately transported to a 1920s setting that oozes style and prestige with influences including English cubism and Irish art with an ornate bar boasting a host of different premium spirits and a menu laden with stories and poetic narratives.
Their signature serve is a whisky and bespoke chocolate tasting paired to enhance the characteristic of the whiskies, and happen to be the only bar in the UK to offer 2 particular expression Lagavulin and Dalmore whisky.
Naturally this is what I ordered, would have been bloody rude not to.
It arrived served on a short stave boasting the two cask strength Woodford Reserve ryes I had asked for and a box of chocolates that were explained along with being told which order to consume them in with the whiskies.
Woodford Reserve Aged Cask Rye & New Cask Rye
- Each bottling is made of 100% Rye, with the New Cask being finished in a brand new barrel, while the Aged Cask is matured in used barrels.
- For the Aged Cask the aroma is delicate, slightly grassy with light citrus and very subtle vanilla. The taste is “young”, with notes of green & black pepper, very light vanilla with a nice clean finish.
- For the New Cask the aroma is full of oak, cinnamon, caramel & vanilla, with a taste of soft pepper and tons of nuttiness on the palate. Much fuller bodied than the aged cask, with a slightly sweet finish
The ryes were harsh, both of them, but after the initial sip they opened up and spicier notes were brought out with a bite of each chocolate in turn. It was an interesting experiment to see how the taste of two liquids can change when three chocolates are added in turn.
- Mandarin and Tonka Bean Caramel- A light soft caramel blended with fresh mandarin and infused with Tonka bean for a soft, fruity and warming finish.
- Plan Bee London Honey Ganache- 66% Caribbean dark chocolate blended with locally sourced Regent’s Park honey.
- Ceylon Earl Grey Tea ganache- 70% Honduran dark chocolate blended with essence of Ceylon Pejoe tea and bergamot. Soft, sensual and aromatic.
Not sure I’d do it again in truth but I appreciated the experience and the chance to try something really special.
This is a great reminder of how brilliant and fun hotel bars can be, especially if you only visit from time to time so you’re not breaking the bank.
To contact the Connaught Bar call +44 (0)20 7314 3419
Opening Hours: Monday – Saturday: 4pm – 1.00am Sunday closed Dress code: Smart casual