A weeknight cocktail may be a celebration, a habitual indulgence, or a necessity and at times, an inevitability. It is therefore important to have a designated drinking establishment for plans, spontaneities and emergencies.
A fierce contender, May Fair Bar, housed in the acclaimed May Fair Hotel, shares its stylish and effortless interiors. Comfortably dim and lively, but not overcrowded, it envelops its guests in anonymous comfort. Quiet lounge music and chatter in the background mean an easy conversation, while the appropriately understated, attentive service supplies both intimacy and an uninterrupted supply of whatever the heart desires.
The cocktail menu is filled with comforting classics like the Old Fashioned, along with custom combinations and a waiter with informed recommendations, saving time on dissecting individual ingredients. My first recommendation request and simultaneously a drink connoisseur’s nightmare is “sweet and fruity”. This, with our waiter’s perfectly masked judgement delivers the May Fair Passion, part of the premium cocktail range – a rubescent and fresher take on the sugary Pornstar Martini with the addition of raspberry purée and fittingly served with a shot of Laurent-Perrier Brut Rosé. It provides a sweet, light-hearted end-of-play revival.
An antidote to the saccharine start, follows the Triple C Margarita, a classic mix of tequila, lime and agave, freshened up with coriander and cucumber, and spiced up with a smoked salt and cayenne rim. Not as punchy as a classic margarita, it is, nevertheless perfectly pleasant and subtle, an easy mid-week sip. It is accompanied by an order of fried calamari – the exquisite, impeccably cooked crisps of the sea, as well as fresh and sharp Nocellara olives.
Finally, the Hazelnut Martini – a blend of Amaretto, Frangelico and vanilla vodka, with a touch of lemon juice, is indulgent and yet crisp, unalike the creamy vodka-based combinations associated with nutty flavours. Nevertheless delivering the satisfaction of the creamiest dessert, it would be a welcome addition to numerous menus due to the widespread lack of inspired desserts that has infected one too many restaurants, as also outlined by Jay Rayner.
May Fair Bar is an ideal spot for all requirements, whether it is to undo a grueling day, luxuriate in an all-out evening, or a leisurely night of people watching. The attentive service, never-ending Parmesan crisps and a cocktail menu to please all equals a promise of a delightful eve, and if you can’t rely on that, then how do you trust anyone?