'a place for your little black book when the sun is shining'

Harbour Bar, Wyndham Grand

Open daily 7.30am–midnight; afternoon tea, 3pm–6pm

The style:

Chelsea Harbour is still the new kid on the block. Unlike Portobello’s market or the Kings Road, both known and loved since the 1960s, the harbour has only been in existence for about 25 years, give or take, and still hardly anybody knows exactly where it is. It remains a bit of a ghost town and it’s very quiet around the harbour, so if you’re into tranquility, this is the place for you. There is a smart curve of a bar with orb lamps floating above and the space feels light and airy, courtesy of the floor-to-ceiling windows. The Wyndham is a five star hotel, so the bar is appropriately swish and there’s a lovely terrace overlooking the yachts.

The crowd:

Sort of business like. My guess is that companies stick their suits out here so that they get on with some bloody work, free from the temptation of the bright lights of the West End or the cocaine and winking strippers near the Square Mile. We saw a few manly handshakes ahead of contracts being signed and some middle management rinsing the expenses account on the way to pissed-ville. The atmosphere is a little sterile and they’ll need to get people here to change that – maybe a happy hour would help. When the sun decides he’s coming out to play for an extended period, my guess is that Kings Road debutantes will be here swapping Monte Carlo memories over Manhattans. After a few, with all the boats parked up and the twinkling of the rays, they might even believe they’re back there.

The food:

We got given a sushi platter and you know… It was ok. Fish and rice. Sushi’s all the same really isn’t it? Unless you’re by the coast in Japan and some samurai chef has just flashed his frisky blades and you’re presented with something that was still swimming an hour previously. That kind of sushi might be worth writing about.

The drinks:

Let’s face it, you wouldn’t come to Chelsea Harbour unless you had to. The Kings Road is near enough and has numerous places pushing cocktails. Plus there’s a buzz there – it has crowds, unlike the harbour. But here’s the thing: it doesn’t have the gently bobbing boats and for another thing, the cocktails here are very good, if expensive. My blackcurrant and tea Martini (£14) had me pulled in all different taste directions: the slight tartness of the fruit, the bitterness of the tea. I kept sipping to see what I could taste next. A Champagne cocktail called Berries Sparkles (£16) had my friend Jose making the kind of noises one makes when being seduced. Up next and proving that port, Champagne and rum can mix, was the Sunrise Mojito (£13.50), a boozy mix tasting of mint and berries. Finally, before we tottered out bow legged, a pear Martini (£14) was the most sensuously smelling drink I’ve ever encountered, zingy and refreshing and wonderful. This, then, is a place for your little black book when the sun is shining. A place where you can bring your mates and have them say ‘I never would have thought to come here’ in an admiring kind of way. You’ll feel like you’re in Europe by a marina with the smart set, trust me. And as unlikely as that may seem in England’s capital, you actually might be.

Harbour Bar, Wyndham Grand, Chelsea Harbour, London, SW10; www.wyndhamgrandlondon.co.uk; 020 7823 3000

Bars & Pubs |