Wednesday, 9 March 2011
The Arch Bar, W1
Refurbished in the currently fashionable mix of art deco/1950s-inspired anodyne chic favoured by many venues aimed at the Business Class buck, what was the Intercontinental's Lobby Bar has been re-invented. As The Arch Bar, it promises ‘unobstructed views of gardens, parks and the iconic Wellington Arch.’ Sightseers should avoid the adjacent lounge we’re initially consigned to for tea: two dark ‘phone boxes, like big dirty Daleks, skulk outside to spoil the much anticipated view (see left : what lies beyond those annoying lumps of metal). Better to secure a high stool at the attractive bar counter and view said Arch and Piccadilly’s roaring traffic - a thrilling prospect to contemplate as you dip into a fine selection of over two dozen gins and gin-based cocktails. Try Old Time Tipple (Berkeley Square basil-infused gin muddled with fresh tomato & cranberry), or cherry sweetened Mother’s Ruin which uses the new Six O’Clock Gin, so named because it harnesses only half a dozen botanicals such as orange peel, elderflower and the mandatory juniper. For gin avoiders, there’s rummy champagne granita at £16, coconut & chilli mojito or a range of wines, many English, as well as ales and occasional live music.