Owned by the team behind Zuma and Roka, and hidden underneath the restaurant of the same name, Meraki Bar serves cocktails and sharing mezze dishes in lavish surroundings.
We were sat in the main bar area where there is a small seating space complete with a teal velvet sofa, matching stools, and low marble-topped tables. The aesthetic is Instagrammable (tropical wallpaper, heavy gold detailing, climbing plants) but ironically not easy to photograph (it’s very dimly lit). The pièce de résistance (according to the hostess) are the ‘caves’ tucked behind the bar which can be hired for group bookings our parties. Very discreet, apparently they go down a treat with their celebrity fan base.
On arrival at 8pm, the bar was empty except for two other couples sat next to us on the velvet sofa. With little background noise except the DJ (a sign of things to come), the conversation felt a little awkward. This was not the time to dissect a recent date or awful work colleague. Around 10pm, seemingly out of nowhere, the bar filled up with men in shirts and women in full-on going out attire, unanimously toting expensive designer bags. The DJ turned up the music, a trumpet player appeared and the vibe switched. ‘Who knew people still went clubbing on a Wednesday?’ I asked my friend.
Thanks to the location underneath a restaurant, the menu offered is much more extensive than your standard cocktail jaunt. Borrowing the Greek cuisine and a number of popular dishes from the upstairs menu, they serve a range of hot and cold mezze dishes ideal for sharing. We quickly demolished the fresh taramasalata and fluffy pita to start, and also enjoyed the well-balanced beetroot and goats cheese salad. My meat-eating companion raved about the lamb while I was a fan of the dolmades (stuffed vine leaves). However, the greek salad was nothing to write home about and the feta spaghetti was a pain to eat at the low table. In fact, if you want to eat a proper meal versus a few snacks, you’re better off heading upstairs to the restaurant or booking out one of the aforementioned caves.
The cocktail list mainly consists of classics with a twist, and all that we sampled (a fair few) were delicious. Favourites included the ‘Mexican Standoff’, a take on a Margarita with avocado, apple puree and matcha tea, and ‘Aoide & Melette’, a silky Gin cocktail with elderflower, ginger and egg white. As the DJ picked up we ordered two Exquisite Espresso Martinis which luckily lived up to their name.
meraki-bar.com; Monday – Saturday 12pm – 3pm & 6pm – 1am, Sunday Brunch 12pm – 6pm