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Tuesday, 15 October 2013

Red Bar at Bam-Bou, Fitzrovia

It's London Cocktail week and the city is 'pure hoaching', as they say in Glasgow. The appetite for  bargain £4 cocktails at over 150 fine participating bars is positively Hogarthian. And why not? To show willing, I join the merry melee and hit Bam-Bou, that Fitzrovia shrine to Indochine. So popular is it tonight, there's a 1-in-1-out  door drama to deal with. Queue to get in? I don't think so. This calls for cunning. Spotting the metrosexual manager's obvious interest in my date's designer man bag (which I haven't previously clocked, so fashion-blind am I these days), I tell him about a website I've read about where boys can bag such upscale bags on a weekly hire basis. He's astonished...and grateful....and more importantly, I'm in like Flynn, courtesy of my totes bag-envious NBF. The climb, up flights of sloping stairs, to the top floor of this rickety-rackety old townhouse is a long but ultimately rewarding one. Bam-Bou’s Red Bar warrants repeat visits. As its reputation grows outside its native islands, Japanese whisky has become the latest string to the Bam-Bou bow. Bourbon barrel Yamazaki; distinguished Suntory blends; complex Hakushu whisky from sherry casks, and peaty Nikka single malts from the northern island of Hokkaido - sure to enthral Laphroaig fanciers - are among 60-odd possibilities. The Red Room’s other claim to fame is its reliable range of cocktails from £8.50. Highlights include a Japanese slant on a Robbie Burns; a Ginza julep; Ford cocktail; and and rum and ale flip - a tasty buccaneer brew that has Zacapa 23,  ruby port, spices, pimento and black lager. I'd happily stay for a few rounds but man bag man is itching to try somewhere new. The moral of this vignette being; if you prefer to park your harris more than 10 minutes at a time, never drink with an Aries.

1 Percy Street W1T 1DB 7323 9130

For a version of this and similar reviews of all London's best bars, visit