Ian Schrager’s latest creation is the newest addition to London’s hotel bar scene. The dramatically ornate ceiling, posh living-room environs and superb cocktails of its elegant lobby bar are an instant lure for the fashionable set. The hotel also boasts Berners Tavern – an upscale gastropub – and the intimate, reservations-only Punch Room offering an array of top-notch punchbowls for two to eight people.
10 Berners Street, London W1T 3NP, 020 7781 0000
The Corinthia has a trio of wonderful hangouts. The large, light and very open-plan Massimo Oyster Bar specialises in champagne and oysters. The diminutive Bassoon Bar with its piano and toasty fireplace is ideal for Manhattan or Martini sipping. In the modern, earth-toned Lobby Lounge is a series of perfect afternoon tea niches with large comfy chairs nestled under a sprawling chandelier.
Whitehall Place, London SW1A 2BD, 0808 129 5550
Ace Hotel London Shoreditch
If an up-and-coming rock band designed its dream east London hotel and bar, this would be it. Geared squarely at creatives and those who love them, the Ace has the relaxed feel of a studio/gallery space or artist’s loft, but with great drinks. Try the Ruby Breakfast Fizz or, for later, have a Bijou Basket of sloe gin, ginger wine and rhubarb bitters.
100 Shoreditch High Street, London E1 6JQ, 020 7613 9800
Mark’s Bar at Hixter
Acclaimed chef and patron of the arts Mark Hix’s latest venture is Hixter. Situated in the old East India Company warehouse on Devonshire Square, it is festooned with eclectic works from Gary Webb, Tracey Emin, Sue Webster and Tim Noble. Look for the neon “Mark’s” sign pointing downward and descend the stairs into the clubby cellar lounge. Settle into a sofa with a Hix Fix or take a seat at the bar and watch the young alchemists churn out punches, cups and swizzles.
9a Devonshire Square, London EC2M 4AE, 020 7220 9498
While there are less expensive cocktail spots in London, none can match the view and few match the drinks at Aqua in The Shard. The modern, minimalist decor in this three-storey atrium ensures nothing detracts from the sweeping panorama of city and sky. Select from the seven Classic Inspirations drawn from Harry Craddock’s 1930 Savoy Cocktail Book or delve into the range of gin-inspired drinks (made with a range of gin botanicals).
Level 31, The Shard, 31 St Thomas Street, London SE1 9RY, 020 3011 1256
Jared Brown is master distiller at Sipsmith