Open 24 hours a day for in-house guests and for non-residents until 2am
The bar area has been refurbished with a black granite bar and two drop-column funky lights, aubergine damask wallpaper, velvet-and-leather chairs and oak flooring. The side wall has a trendy mirror and gas fire lighting below. However, it’s still located off the nondescript lobby of the hotel, formerly the production offices of the BBC TV Features and Sports departments. Two layers of sheer curtains hang across the huge, plate glass windows, as much to soften the building as to ‘help minimise the load on the air conditioning’. Our reserved table already had a lonely bowl of Korean crackers waiting for us (one had fallen on to the table) when we arrived. Supposedly DJs play on Friday and Saturday nights from 9pm–2am. We spotted a DJ sitting at the bar fiddling with some equipment, but he didn’t play during our visit.
The hotel bar is described as ‘a favourite haunt of the movers and shakers in the music and media industries’ according to the PR blurb, probably due to its location (entertainment company Endemol is based around the corner, for example) and history. A fashion stylist friend has told me about some good late nights she’s had in the bar. However, during our Friday evening visit, my friend noted that it was more ‘backpacker territory’ than cool crowd. Perhaps our 9.45pm arrival was too early…
I shouldn’t comment as we didn’t eat, but we did spot a few tourists dining from the hotel restaurant Kanteen’s comfort/dull menu; a large portion of penne with wild mushrooms, tarragon, lemon, red onion and parmesan (£12) and a club sandwich (£10).
We tried an apple and Malone martini (£11) and raspberry caiprosca (£10). Perhaps the martini wasn’t the best choice (made from vodka, apple schnapps, Midori and lime juice) – it was a luminous green and tasted pretty artificial. I couldn’t drink it. The caipirosca (raspberry vodka, limes, raspberry puree and grenadine) was better; refreshingly thick and fruity.