Category Archives: bars

Mews of Mayfair, London

Where is Mews hidden?

Tucked away down the dimly-lit alley of Lancashire Court, this classy brasserie come bar is cosy-chic combined.  A stone’s throw from Berkeley and Hanover Square, the cobbled courtyard comes alive with business folk winding down with a cocktail or two after a hard day’s slog. Whether sinking into the deep leather sofas in the cocktail lounge illuminated by 18th century chandeliers, or sitting nestled in the narrow outdoor alley under the stars, there’s something for everyone.  

What’s on offer?

The extensive cocktail menu offers many a zingy delight from the classic Cosmopolitan to the exotic Chilli Cuddle for the more adventurous-spirited. The food menu is equally pleasing, with a range of delicious bar snacks such as Smoked Salmon Scotch Eggs and Cheese Boards to heartier meals proper such as Fish and Chips, Guinea Fowl Leg and Scottish Ox Cheeks.  Prices range from £5-18 for bar snacks to £9-18 for mains with a South Devon 1 Kilo Double Rib Steak for a hungry twosome at £65. 

Special Features?

The basement lounge is the ideal spot for after-dinner drinks, with DJ decks built into a grand piano and glass beaded nooks that are easy to sink into. Open until 1am Wednesday to Saturday, whiling away the wee hours here is the perfect way to round off the evening.

If it’s a private room you’re after, the upstairs space is perfect for a canapé party of up to 40, a seated dinner for up to 28 guests or a snazzy meeting spot for presentations.  With antique maps adorning the walls, surround sound, wifi and a hidden 50” screen, this an an imperial experience no client will forget!

For a more decadent affair, La Cave Private Room is situated opposite Mews Art Gallery and can accommodate up to 15 guests for lunch and dinner, or 25 for a standing reception. Doubling up as a wine boutique, La Cave mixes cosiness and sophistication to perfection, the dark wood and brown leather seating set off by the wine and champagne which lines the walls. 

And finally…

I’ve always thought that Mayfair embodies the ideal man – powerful, understated and elegant. Mews is an example of all three.

Contact:

Website: Here

Address: 10 Lancashire Court, New Bond Street, London, W1S 1EY 

Tel: 0207 518 9388

Email: nfo@mewsofmayfair.com

Las Carboneras, Madrid

Reputedly the best-known flamenco bar in Madrid, Las Carboneras is a once in a lifetime experience.

Where is it?

Nestled behind Mercado de San Miguel in a jazz-club like hideaway, this is a world away from the classic ‘one-man band’ flamenco show. Featuring a quartet of dancers (flanked by two singers and guitarists), they dance one by one in dimly-lit surrounds, their focus broken only by applause. The intensity of their footwork builds skyward through the wooden stage, interrupted occasionally by a pit-pat of cheers from their comrades.

What is it?

Flamenco may seem flamboyant, but this is a serious affair. Uniting passion and control, severity and seduction, the alluring and the disarming, this is mind-boggling, soul scratching stuff. The dancers’ rhythmic movements are mesmerising, enrapturing the audience in a trance-like state whilst keeping them at a distance all at once. For no matter how musical you may think you are, this is a beat you can’t catch. The singers’ soulful wailings may capture your soul but there’s an eerie divide between audience and performer that cannot be crossed. Like a witch casting a spell, it’s engaging and alienating all at once. Eerie, powerful, elusive, it’s about feeling, not thinking. Even the Rastas stage-side, renowned for their rhythm, couldn’t get the beat.

Why go?

With personas as different as chalk and cheese, from the flamboyance of the opening dancer throwing her peach train around the stage in peacock-like fashion to the terrifying severity of her velvet-clad counter-part, flamenco at Las Carboneras is a sight to behold. A feast for the senses if ever I saw one, it’ll leave you changed. Go.

Contact:

Website

Address: Plaza del Conde de Miranda, 1, 28005 Madrid

Tel: 915 42 86 77

Hours: 19:30-24:00

Tickets:

Drink and Show - 33.40 euros

Tapas and Show - 65 euros +

 

The Piano Bar, High Street Kensington

What do the critics say?

If you like cocktails, cosiness and live music, read on.  Quoted as being ‘one of the best nights out in London‘ by Edward Sullivan from the Evening Standard, The Piano Bar is nestled behind a single black door opposite Kensington High Street tube station.  With live piano playing six days a week until the clock strikes midnight, this wee place is a hidden gem.

What’s the vibe like?

If you favour flamboyance over minimalism, this may not be your bag.  Characterised by its cosy bistro interior, The Piano Bar is understated, continental chic with the real treasure lying in the gastronomy, cocktails and musical magic.  Like me, you may find yourself staying far later than planned, mesmerised by classics like ‘Wonderwall’ and ‘I Guess That’s Why They Call It The Blues’ as you make your way through Vodka Martinis and Risotto Balls.

What of the menu?

The menu includes a range of treats from the Charcuterie Board to the mouth-watering Roast Pork Belly & Apple Slider on a Homemade Brioche Bun, with prices ranging from £5-10 for the Weekly Menu and £12 for the Buffet Menu (which must be ordered in advance). 

Do you need to book?

The only red flag is to book a table to avoid disappointment.  With no cover charge and a pretty special ambience, it’s no surprise The Piano Bar is popular. And if you get to hear Nick Reeve (aka the Pianoman) play, you’re in for a treat.

Contact:

Address: 106, Kensington High Street

Nearest tube: High Street Kensington

Website

Tel: 0207 938 4664

Hours: 

Tuesday-Friday, 5pm – midnight

Saturday-5pm – midnight

Sunday – 6pm – 11.30pm

Live Music:

Tuesday-Thursday 6pm – 11.30pm

Friday 6pm – midnight

Saturday 6pm – midnight

Sunday 8.30pm – 11.30pm

The Troubadour, Earls Court

One of my favourite venues in London, the Troubadour is a cafe-bar-restaurant-club extraordinaire you have to visit at least once.  With pots, pans and all sorts of trinkets hanging from the beam-lined ceilings, this is a fantastical hubbub as magical as Alice’s Wonderland.

Music, you say?

Located at 263-267 Old Brompton Road and established in 1954, The Troubadour is one of the last remaining coffee houses of its era in London, with a club room in the cellar which has hosted the likes of Bob Dylan, Elton John, Jimi Hendrix and The Rolling Stones.  Steeped in artistry befitting its name (a Troubadour was a lyric poet or performer from the High Middle Ages), it continues to host live music and poetry, mainly by performers who write their own material.  The performance area downstairs remains an intimate space for 120, with a cosy underground jazz club feel, dance floor and cocktails served until the early hours.

What’s the cafe like?

The ground-floor cafe is a spell-binding affair which caters for every taste bud and budget.  From The Brompton Burger and chunky chips to ‘The Troubadour Trio’ – a scrumptious spread of hummus, taramasalata and pumpkin dip with pitta bread and crudités – you will not be disappointed.  The jungular garden nestled at the rear of the cafe is but another feature to enjoy on a warm summer’s eve.

What’s the Wine Shop like?

The variety doesn’t stop there, with the neighbouring Wine Shop providing a calm alternative to the fast pace of the cafe and club next door.  Available for private parties, it was also awarded the ‘Best Argentinian Wine Retailer of the Year’ in 2010.  Wine-tasting evenings and Troubadour Feasts are superbly hedonistic events involving a several course dinner based on a chosen region or country in return for paying a fixed fee and the promise of meeting new and interesting people (The Troubadour tends to attract engaging sorts).

Do they do private parties?

If that’s not enough for you, The Troubadour Gallery is an elegant room perfect for use as a private party room for drinks for up to 70 guests or a buffet lunch or supper for up to 50 people.  Located on the first floor, it is designed in classical fashion with wooden floors, large windows and high ceilings.

Not sure it’s your bag?

If you’re an artistic soul who enjoys the eclectic, visit The Troubadour.  It’s one of a kind.  And if you’re a touch nutty, wear a hat on a Tuesday and you’ll get a free dessert!

Contact

265 Old Brompton Rd, London SW5 9JA

Website

020 7370 1434

Music Gigs: £5 for advance online bookings / £7 on the door

Poetry Evenings: Mondays Fortnightly 

Hours: 9am-Late  

The Top Roof Terraces in Madrid

1. Circulo de Bellas Artes Roof Terrace, Gran Via

Located on Calle de Alcala just off Gran Via, the roof terrace at Circulo de Bellas Artes is a not to be missed. If there’s one place you should take a visitor, it’s here. A spectacle extraordinaire, the wow factor is on a par with stepping onto the observation deck of the Empire State Building.

This is a truly panoramic experience, with views stretching over the cityscape as far as the eye can see. The terrace is vast with various sub-sections, from the chic canopeyed restaurant hub and sophisticated high-tabled drinks area to a chic sunken zone with low-lying sun loungers and fluorescent mushroom-like tables.

If you come before 9:30pm you’ll avoid queuing and catch the sunset. At 3 euros a pop, an evening a-top Circulo de Bellas Artes is a steal.

Contact:

Address: Calle de Alcala, 42, 28014, Madrid

Nearest Metro: Banco de Espana

Website

Tel: 913 60 54 00

2. Cibeles Root Terrace, Banco de Espana

Cibeles Palace roof terrace comes a close second. Standing majestically in front of the famous Cibeles Fountain, it oozes gravitas and splendour.

The Palacio Cibeles Restaurant, on the sixth floor, has pretty lovely views but the eighth floor is something else. With horizon wide panoramas of the city from a 70 metre high look-out point, this is well worth a visit. The terrace is top-end chic, with striking black surrounds and dim-lighting which gives it an exclusive edge over some of its counterparts.

If you count yourself a bit of a sophisticat, give this a whirl.

Contact:

Address: Plaza Cibeles 1, 28014, Madrid

Nearest Metro: Banco de Espana

Website

Tel: 917 40 06 68

3. La Terraza de Óscar at Room Mate Óscar, Chueca

Situated on Plaza de Vázquez de Mella, between Gran Via and Chueca, the rooftop bar a-top the swanky Room Mate Óscar hotel is a must. If you’re struggling to find it, you can’t miss the bold, over-sized sign hanging from its exterior which reads: “Do you want to sleep with me?”  How continental.

With comfy white cushions, sun-loungers spread around to laze on and drinks ranging from Gin and Tonics to Mojitos, you’d have to try pretty hard not to like this place.

And while it’s a top of the range spot with a distinctly exclusive vibe to it, it’s not overly expensive. Chic, light and airy, Room Mate Óscar mixes the luxurious and unpretentious with ease.

Contact:

Address: Plaza de Vázquez de Mella, 12, 28004, Madrid

Nearest tube: Banco de Espana/Gran Via

Website

Tel: 917 01 11 73

4. ME Hotel Roof Terrace, Las Letras

Think understated chic under the stars. Not unlike its glamorous Covent Garden counterpart, the roof terrace at the ME Hotel in Plaza Santa Ana is a super stylish hang-out with views to die for. With wooden decking lining the floors, stylish glass surrounds and chic taupe umbrellas, it has an air of exclusivity which more than justifies the 10 euro entry fee by night.

Though previously a little put-off by the latter, it’s a small price to pay for the ambience and complimentary cocktail of your choice.

If you really can’t bring yourself to shell out, the terrace is free by day and is a lovely spot for afternoon digestifs after lunch at Lateral southward.

Contact:

Address: Plaza de Santa Ana, 14, 28012, Madrid

Nearest Metro: Anton Martin

Website

Tel: 902 14 44 40

5. St Anton Market, Chueca

My sister’s favourite of the lot, this roof terrace combines markety buzz and casual chic.  Located on the top floor of Mercado San Anton (one of Madrid’s most authentic tapas markets), it’s an eclectic mix of flora, fauna and cocktails set in the heart of Madrid’s gay district.

If you don’t fancy the restaurant sitting alongside the bar, or sampling the market treats below, there are top of the range restaurants a-plenty southward. If you like character, you’ll love this.

Contact:

Address: Calle Augusto Figueroa, 24. 28004, Madrid

Nearest metro: Chueca

Website

Tel: 91 330 07 30

6. El Corte Ingles Roof Terrace, Callao

Feast your eyes on this one.  The gourmet section of the well-known department store has moved skyward, where it combines forces with a variety of bars and restaurants. From Japanese and American to tapas and tortellini, this is a gem of a find with spectacular views of the city to boot. Whether you’re after a full-blown meal or a light snack after a day’s shopping in Sol, this is a wonderful spot to unwind. Not often you find similar offerings atop department stores in London…

Contact:

Address: Plaza de Callao, 2, 28013, Madrid

Nearest Metro: Callao

Website

Tel: 913 79 80 00

7. Rooftop Bar, Hotel de Las Letras, Gran Via

Located in the heart of Madrid on Gran Via, this is a classy 4* Hotel with a twist. As its name suggests, Hotel De las Letras has a literary thread, with walls decorated with silk-screened texts of different authors. If poems and short stories aren’t your bag, venture up to the 7th floor rooftop bar, otherwise known as Ático De las Letras and discover a relaxed, jungular wilderness overlooking the city heights.

The decor is understated but snazzy, with slatted wooden flooring and high neon green perspex tables. Food includes a range of salads, tapas, grilled sardines and beef tartare. There’s also an impressive range of booze on offer with varying types of rum, vodka, gin, brandy, whisky and champagne as well as mojitos, caipirinhas or a range of fresh juices.

Come nightfall, you can enjoy the starry lights of the cityscape alongside a live DJ who plays into the wee hours. Open from 13:00 to 12:30 Sundays to Wednesdays and 13:00 to 03:00 Thursdays to Saturdays, this is a great spot to enjoy a break from the city.

Contact:

Address: Calle Gran Vía, 11, 28013, Madrid

Nearest tubes: Gran Via/Sevilla

Website

Tel: 915 23 79 80

8. Hotel Urban Roof Terrace, Sevilla

A stone’s throw from Gran Via, Hotel Urban is a minimalist 5 Star experience worth a visit. The roof terrace is understated, modern chic, with white seating and views over Madrid’s city centre. While the outlook is a little more ‘urban’ and less far-reaching than some of its counterparts, this is an elegant spot with a uniquely metropolitan twist.

The menu is extensive with generous lashings of gin typical of Madrid and the drinks are served with popcorn – a novel touch for a novel experience. Open from around 8pm, this is a lovely spot for a pre-dinner drink.

Contact:

Address: Carrera de San Jerónimo, 34, 28014, Madrid

Nearest Metro: Sevilla

Website

Tel: 917 87 77 70

9. Ildefonso Market, Malasana

This new market in Tribunal is a must-see.  While sampling the culinary delicacies here is the main feature, the roof terrace on the second floor with its outdoor watering system is super buzzy and fun.  The only reason why this ranks lower than the others is because there is no view – but the atmosphere is second to none.

Grab yourself a mouth-watering burger, a plate of pulpo and a glass of vino for 2 euros and you’re in bliss.  Throw a chocolate crepe in for good measure and life really doesn’t get much better.

Contact:

Address: Calle Fuencarral, 57, 28080, Madrid

Nearest metro: Tribunal

Website

Tel: 915 59 13 00

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Top Roof Terraces in Madrid

madrid-2

1. Circulo de Bellas Artes Roof Terrace, Gran Via

Located on Calle de Alcala just off Gran Via, the roof terrace at Circulo de Bellas Artes is a not to be missed. If there is one place you should take a visitor, it’s here. A spectacle extraordinaire, the wow factor is on a par with stepping onto the observation deck of the Empire State Building.

This is a truly panoramic experience, with views stretching over the cityscape as far as the eye can see. The terrace is vast with various sub-sections, from the chic canopeyed restaurant hub and sophisticated high-tabled drinks area to a chic sunken zone with low-lying sun loungers and fluorescent mushroom-like tables.

If you come before 9:30pm you’ll avoid queuing and catch the sunset. At 3 euros a pop, an evening a top Circulo de Bellas Artes is a steal.

Contact:

Address: Calle de Alcala, 42, 28014, Madrid

Website

Nearest Metro: Banco de Espana

Tel: 913 60 54 00

2. Cibeles Root Terrace, Banco de Espana

Cibeles Palace roof terrace comes a close second to Circulo des Bellas Artes. Standing majestically in front of the famous Cibeles Fountain, it oozes gravitas and splendour.

The Palacio Cibeles Restaurant, on the sixth floor, has pretty lovely views but the eighth floor is something else. With horizon wide panoramas of the city from a 70 metre high look-out point, this is well worth a visit. The terrace is top-end chic, with striking black surrounds and dim-lighting which gives it an exclusive edge over some of its counterparts.

If you count yourself a bit of a sophisticat, give this a whirl.

Contact:

Address: Plaza Cibeles 1, 28014, Madrid

Nearest Metro: Banco de Espana

Tel: 917 40 06 68

3. La Terraza de Óscar at Room Mate Óscar

Situated on Plaza de Vázquez de Mella, between Gran Via and Chueca, the rooftop bar atop the swanky Room Mate Óscar hotel is a must. If you’re struggling to find it, you can’t miss the bold, over-sized sign hanging from its exterior which reads: “Do you want to sleep with me?”  How continental.

With comfy white cushions, sun-loungers spread around to laze on and drinks ranging from Gin and Tonics to Mojitos, you’d have to try pretty hard not to like this place.

And while it’s a top of the range spot with a distinctly exclusive vibe to it, it’s not overly expensive. Chic, light and airy, Room Mate Óscar mixes the luxurious and unpretentious with ease.

Contact:

Address: Plaza de Vázquez de Mella, 12, 28004 Madrid

Website

Nearest tube: Banco de Espana/Gran Via

Tel: 917 01 11 73

4. ME Hotel Roof Terrace, Las Letras

Think understated chic under the stars. Not unlike its glamorous Covent Garden counterpart, the roof terrace at the ME Hotel in Plaza Santa Ana is a super stylish hang-out with views to die for. With wooden decking lining the floors, stylish glass surrounds and chic taupe umbrellas, it has an air of exclusivity which more than justifies the 10 euro entry fee by night.

Though previously a little put-off by the latter, it’s a small price to pay for the ambience and complimentary cocktail of your choice.

If you really can’t bring yourself to shell out, the terrace is free by day and would be a lovely spot for afternoon digestifs after lunch at Lateral southward.

Contact:

Address: Plaza de Santa Ana, 14, 28012 Madrid

Website

Nearest Metro: Anton Martin

Tel: 902 14 44 40 

5. St Anton Market, Chueca

My sister’s favourite of the lot, this roof terrace combines markety buzz and casual chic.  Located on the top floor of Mercado San Anton (one of Madrid’s most authentic tapas markets), it’s an eclectic mix of flora, fauna and cocktails set in the heart of Madrid’s gay district.

If you don’t fancy the restaurant sitting alongside the bar, or sampling the market treats below, there are top of the range restaurants a-plenty southward. If you like character, you’ll love this.

Contact:

Address: Calle Augusto Figueroa, 24. 28004 Madrid

Nearest metro: Chueca

Website

Tel: 91 330 07 30

6. El Corte Ingles Roof Terrace, Callao

The top floor of El Corte Ingles is a feast for the senses. The gourmet section of the well-known department store has moved skyward, where it combines forces with a variety of bars and restaurants. From Japanese and American to tapas and tortellini, this is a gem of a find with spectacular views of the city to boot. Whether you’re after a full-blown meal or a light snack after a day’s shopping in Sol, this is a wonderful spot to unwind. Not often you find similar offerings atop department stores in London…

Contact:

Address: Plaza de Callao, 2, 28013

Nearest Metro: Callao

Website

Tel: 913 79 80 00

7. Rooftop Bar, Hotel de Las Letras

Located in the heart of Madrid on Gran Via, this is a classy 4* Hotel with a twist. As its name suggests, Hotel De las Letras has a literary thread, with walls decorated with silk-screened texts of different authors. If poems and short stories aren’t your bag, venture up to the 7th floor rooftop bar, otherwise known as Ático De las Letras and discover a relaxed, jungular wilderness overlooking the city heights.

The decor is understated but snazzy, with slatted wooden flooring and high neon green perspex tables. Food includes a range of salads, tapas, grilled sardines and beef tartare. There’s also an impressive range of booze on offer with varying types of rum, vodka, gin, brandy, whisky and champagne as well as mojitos, caipirinhas or a range of fresh juices.

Come nightfall, you can enjoy the starry lights of the cityscape alongside a live DJ who plays into the wee hours. Open from 13:00 to 12:30 Sundays to Wednesdays and 13:00 to 03:00 Thursdays to Saturdays, this is a great spot to enjoy a break from the city.

Contact:

Address: Calle Gran Vía, 11, 28013 Madrid, Spain

Website

Nearest tubes: Gran Via/Sevilla

Tel: 915 23 79 80

8. Hotel Urban Roof Terrace, Sevilla

A stone’s throw from Gran Via, Hotel Urban is a minimalist 5 Star experience worth a visit. The roof terrace is understated, modern chic, with white seating and views over Madrid’s city centre. While the outlook is a little more ‘urban’ and less far-reaching than some of its counterparts, this is an elegant spot with a uniquely metropolitan twist.

The menu is extensive with generous lashings of gin typical of Madrid and the drinks are served with popcorn – a novel touch for a novel experience. Open from around 8pm, this is a lovely spot for a pre-dinner drink.

Contact:

Address: Carrera de San Jerónimo, 34, 28014

Nearest Metro: Sevilla

Website

Tel: 917 87 77 70

9. Ildefonso Market, Malasana

This new market in Tribunal is a must-see.  While sampling the culinary delicacies here is the main feature, the roof terrace on the second floor with its outdoor watering system is super buzzy and fun.  The only reason why this ranks lower than the others is because there is no view – but the atmosphere is second to none.

Grab yourself a mouth-watering burger, a plate of pulpo and a glass of vino for 2 euros and you’re in bliss.  Throw a chocolate crepe in for good measure and life really doesn’t get much better.

Contact:

Address: Calle Fuencarral, 57, 28080

Nearest metro: Tribunal

Website

Tel: 915 59 13 00