Perhaps we are cursed, or perhaps Mother Nature intentionally wreaks havoc with the weather so as to make us further appreciate our refuge in a 5* Hotel. Whichever it is, Lady C and I once more battled the elements to the St. Martin’s Lane hotel (see previous review of Asia de Cuba) to see what bibulous delights The Light Bar had to offer.
Since opening in 1999, St. Martins Lane has attracted a constant stream of fashionistas, foodies and the generally fabulous to its restaurant, bar and, most recently, the hedonistic hangout Bungalow 8. The concept behind the Light Bar is, appropriately, all based around lighting. Designed with cosy seating areas bathed in emotive shades of pink, orange, violet and green light, guests are observed by giant black and white portraits on the walls by photographer Jean Baptiste Mondino. As the artist Dan Flavin is well aware, coloured light can influence a person’s mood infinitely, and the result is a space that feels comfortable, sultry and intimate at the same time. A lively, animated crowd of patrons ensured the bar had sufficient ‘buzz’ on a Tuesday evening, and on Friday and Saturdays it is essential to have a reservation.
Now, on to the most important aspect of our evening; the beverages. The cocktail menu mixes traditional and modern touches with exotic ingredients and flavour combinations. We kicked things off with an Old Havana – Havana 7 Rum, muddled grapes, fresh mint, elderflower and Champagne – and a Lychee and Ginger Champagne. Anything with ginger immediately gets my vote and the spicier taste mixed delightfully with the Champagne to create a light drink with a pleasant little kick. Accompanied by the usual discussion of imminent world domination and salacious rumours, we moved swiftly to our next choices; a pineapple and basil martini – pineapple and basil muddled with gin and vanilla liqueur – and the enticing fuego caipirinha – thai red chilli infused cachaca, lemongrass, lime and crème de peche.
Both showcased the bar staff’s skill of delicately blending bold flavours with great success. Warning; the chilli cachaca is highly addictive. As are their want to do the cocktails made us peckish. Bar snacks include a selection of dishes from Asia de Cuba next door and the calamari with sweet chilli we chose was the largest portion I have ever seen! Light, flavoursome and moreish it proved the perfect accompaniment to our drinks. To round off the evening we chose Planters Punch – a potent combo of rum, orange and pineapple juices and more rum – and an off menu special; lychee and chilli martini – a tad too much lychee that needed more kick.
Accompanied by the lilting tones of Lana Del Rey remixes and chilled out house tracks, the Light Bar is the perfect spot to while away an evening with glamorous friends whilst dressed to impress and drinking exquisitely presented cocktails served by competent, affable staff. Gird your wallet and check in for the long haul. You will most certainly enjoy it.
St. Martin's Lane Hotel
45 St. Martin's Lane
London, WC2N 4HX