Open daily 5.30pm–1am
I had high expectations from this Chelsea institution. One of the first high-end cocktail bars in the area, it has played host to generations of Chelsea’s movers and shakers. Located on upmarket Walton Street, the bar offers an eclectic mix of innovative cocktails and sushi from neighbouring Itsu. At weekends the bar picks up tempo with DJs and even a resident bongo player. The chic bar has an intimate feel – perfect for a first date venue.
With attentive bar staff that look like they have just jumped out of an Abercrombie campaign and gorgeous young couples sipping cocktails in candle light, Eclipse is home to the beautiful people of west London. On our visit there was a distinct international vibe with Italian bankers on our left and a hub of Latino lovelies on our right.
Fish is the dish of the day here with a range of sushi platters (from £7.50) provided by Itsu restaurant next door. Our food arrived promptly and was well presented and had a good, fresh texture that sushi needs. The edamame (£3.50) were a bit of a non-event with no sign of rock salt but the sushi feast platter (£19) was full of flavour, featuring 13 pieces of salmon and tuna sushi, sashimi and maki with fresh ginger and spicy soy sauce. The spicy Japanese vegetable dumplings (£9) were a little dry but had a real kick and were a generous portion – perfect to share. This nibbly style of sharing platters is the perfect accompaniment to a pre-club cocktail… Or two.
This is where Eclipse really earns its stripes and you can’t pay this bar a visit without trying their signature mix: The Eclipse (£9.80) aka a watermelon martini. Served either straight up or as a long drink, it is mouth-wateringly refreshing, lacking the heavy, artificial sweetness many bars serve. It was delicately complex and totally addictive… Very dangerous. The other cocktail that took us by surprise was the Amalfi Sour (£8.90). Muddling fresh strawberries, lemon juice and Limoncello with vodka and topped with pepper, this creation had an irresistible tanginess. Despite not mentioning it on the menu, it also contains egg white which gave this sharp number a rich, creamy depth.
We finished our evening with a Crackbaby shot (£5.80). With pursed lips and an un-amused look on our faces we edged towards the evil-looking yellow substance only to find it was the most inoffensive shot in London; succulent sweet passion fruit with smooth vodka and fruity black raspberry liquor all topped off with sparkling champagne – bliss. For those after a simpler liquid affair, they also offer wine and champagne by the glass. This lively yet relaxed bar is the perfect pre-club hang-out.