As for London, I am always on a mission to find London’s best bars, so I was excited to visit this much talked about Soho establishment. Under Hix restaurant, beneath the buzzing room where diners chomp on good nosh whilst atmosphere oozes around them and quirky adornments like a neon albatross gently swish above their heads, sits Mark’s Bar.
A seat down there is in demand. We arrived after dinner on a Saturday night and were told there was a 30 minute wait to get in. I was slightly concerned it was going to be one of those wanky places that tells you it’s ‘full’ to build a queue, but it was worth hanging around for. They keep you waiting because there’s no standing – it’s table service only.
Which makes it all rather great to be honest, because you don’t have to stand in the 5 person deep queue for a drink, but rather stretch out on a beaten looking leather couch, soak up the cool vibe: good lighting, well put-together decor that is interesting and… well alright, a bit odd (the stuffed fox, for instance) and let the waiter come to you.
Best seats in the house, experience-wise, have to be at the bar though. Sit and admire the bartenders’ mad skills as they stretch their arms apart and pour blue flaming liquid from glass to glass, or set fire to peppercorns with a Bunsen burner and trap the smoke under tumblers to infuse one of their signature cocktails. Their creative team has sourced recipes both ancient and modern to create the best of British cocktails available using only British spirits and liqueurs. Check out the cocktail menu.
The bar looks a bit like a mad professor’s laboratory, with glasses and test tubes and mixing bowls of every shape and size. Asparagus, parsley and other inventive ingredients adorn the drinks menu, and the music is spot on: a cool kind of modern speakeasy.
At around £11 per drink it’s not the cheapest, but for the experience, atmosphere and creativity, it’s definitely worth splurging on a ‘Hanky Panky’ or two whilst pondering how the bartender managed to turn your lime inside out.
Photo credits: insideology.com, designmynight.com, sounddivision.com