London Fashion Week is nigh upon us and while this largely passes me by, I do enjoy the extra frisson in the capital during this twice-yearly jamboree. Everyone looks a little more spruce than usual and bars and restaurants go an extra mile to entertain us.
But of the melange of watering holes, how do you choose where to go to revive yourself after an exhausting day’s catwalk watching? Leaving aside the usual Chelsea and Mayfair fashionista hangouts and the more obvious hotel bars, here are some recommendations for drinking cocktails during London Fashion Week:
Best fashion-led theme
1. Rockwell Bar at The Trafalgar
Among other tributes to the season, the Rockwell has created a bespoke menu called Taste the Trends. Designed to echo Autumn trends, it features three cocktails: Nude Lace (Mozart white chocolate liqueur, Tequila, coffee) visually encapsulates its name and is one of the prettiest drinks I’ve seen; The Girl in a Camel Coat (Grand Marnier, Tequila, cream) may sound mild but is lethally strong; the subtle flavours of the Pretty Poetess (Rum, green cardamom syrup, bitters) makes it a great choice for those not keen on creamy, chocolatey drinks and would make a perfect nightcap. There is also an assiette of desserts featuring chocolate, coconut and hazelnut flavours designed to complement the drinks.
2. The Mayfair
LFW’s official hotel, The Mayfair, is offering tea-themed cocktail and cupcakes (surely a little last season?), which look quite irresistible. The Caramel Espresso Martini, served in a martini glass with a caramelised brown sugar crust, sounds particularly decadent.
Best for glamour
Pearl’s cocktail menu features fresh fruit purees and juices for light, elegant drinks. The surroundings are rather pretty and its Holborn location makes it handy to pop to between shows.
Circus, again conveniently located, boasts a stylish surreal interior and a late-night cabaret.
Best for setting off a killer outfit
The following bars are not only stylish in themselves but their glamorous white decor forms a perfect backdrop for showing off your own style. Avoid wearing white if you want to be noticed:
Tucked away in an obscure region of Fitzrovia, Vanilla’s elegant, glittering white interiors are guaranteed to show off your togs to advantage. A certain amount of exclusivity is also guaranteed from its hidden entrance, location and need to ring ahead.
6. Boundary Roof top
Best for some old-fashioned comfort
Teetering around all day in killer heels can take it out of a woman. What better way to restore your equilibrium than in some quiet sanctuary where style takes second place to luxurious comfort and good living?
7. The bar at Rules
An oasis of calm as well as a London institution, the bar at Rules allows you to step back to a quieter, more dignified era with its understated elegance. Let Brian Silva, chief bartender and another London institution, wash away any woes with a perfect, classic cocktail.
8. Knight’s bar at Simpsons-on-the-Strand
Perhaps a little anodyne but handily located on the Strand, Knight’s piano bar offers comfortable seats to sink back into as you drown in an outsize Martini. Usually features a live pianist, always features garishly dressed tourists – the price you pay for a guaranteed seat and excellent service.
Best for some old-fashioned fun
Primarily a burlesque supper club, Volupte also has a street level cocktail bar. Seems a shame to miss out on the tassle twirling though so why not try Saturday’s ‘Afternoon tease’ performance?
10. Cellar door
Practically opposite Somerset House, Cellar Door is a tiny bar that once was an infamous public convenience. It carries on its louche tradition with a nightly cabaret and cocktails. Also serves snuff.
London Fashion Week runs from Friday 17th to Wednesday 22nd September.