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Wednesday, 3 March 2010

Barre Noire, Marylebone

If you're headed to nearby Locanda Locatelli , or should you otherwise inexplicably find yourself at Marble Arch, the oddly named Barre - as in French for helm, rod, witness box, or anything but ‘bar’ - is worth a detour for as good a cocktail as you’ll find in the vicinity. A clich├ęd, Noughties-style, ‘noir’ oval lounge dominated by a resinous back-lit bar/ barre plays host to groups of dazed and confused (as opposed to Dazed and Confused ) middle age Japanese salarymen, sons of The Emirates (as in Gucci-clad Arabs, not Arsenal players) and bored business people wishing they were anywhere else except stuck listening to fat Fritz from Freibourg droning on about the Geneva office while the perch uncomfortably on a squidgy leather cube north of Oxfordstrasse. The overall effect feels like cocktail hour inside a hollow Easter egg. Drinks acquit themselves - a Manhattan, perfect at £9.50 - and sweetly efficient staff know their onions enough to apologise for a lack of same when we order an off-menu Gibson. The suggested alternative, a Tanqueray Ten dry martini served with a twist, comes with a bowl of nuts and wasabi peas that is diligently replenished throughout our stay.
The Montcalm Hotel Nikko, 34 Gt Cumberland St. W1 7402 4288