In our column, A Seat At The Bar we showcase the world’s best bars – from plush cocktail spots to dive bars, and everything in-between.
This month, we’re spotlighting The Dandy Bar at The Mayfair Townhouse.
It’s always good to have a rabbit-in a-hat bar ready to whip out on command, and The Dandy Bar at The Mayfair Townhouse is one of London’s best. Tucked away on Half Moon Street – a short distance from Piccadilly and Green Park – this is the place to escape the capital’s hubbub for a few hours.
The bar’s design and recently refreshed cocktail list pays homage to the many dandy characters of the past and more recent present, not least the celebrated playwright Oscar Wilde, whose best-known play – The Importance of Being Earnest – was set in a tavern that once stood on this very street.
Describing The Dandy Bar as the heart and soul of The Mayfair Townhouse is as much literal as metaphorical: it’s located in the lobby of the hotel. A stunning back-lit bar is the centrepiece, surrounded by comfortable leather and velvet banquettes and enough chairs and tables to allow a relaxing space, even on a busy evening.
This is a bar designed to be used as you wish; be it popping in for an aperitif before dinner, a night-cap post theatre, or to spend an extended evening making your way through the extensive food and drinks menu. It’s also a great spot for people-watching, with street-side windows sharing a snapshot of Mayfair life.
What To Order
The cocktail list offers a selection of classics with an avant-garde twist, such as the Yuzu Margarita, a fresh spin on the popular Mexican party cocktail, as well as a signature collection from The Dandy Bar’s team of talented and friendly mixologists. We loved their Cavendish Negroni – a lightly banana-flavoured build on the classic, with a créme de banana sweetness delivering a welcome and surprising undertone to complement the usual bitterness. For those who prefer their drinks with a few bubbles, their classic champagne cocktail is as good as we’ve ever tried.
The food menu is substantial and offers healthy choices, alongside more decadent treats. All of the starters we sampled, from the mushroom arancini to the grilled yakitori chicken skewers and padron peppers were perfectly cooked – we wouldn’t hesitate to pick them again. From the home-styled mains we delved into a chicken cobb salad and a caramelised cauliflower nourish bowl, served with lentils, salsify and rocket. Both were full of flavour and, importantly, also very filling leaving us with no regrets about opting for lighter options – as tempting as the burgers looked.
Who To Bring
With several tube stations close by (Piccadilly Circus, Green Park, Hyde Park Corner) The Dandy Bar is easy-to-reach and a great place to meet with friends. Be sure to have them toast your excellent London knowledge with a round of Cosmo Blancos – the bar’s tasty take on the always crowd-pleasing Cosmopolitan. The hotel is also dog-friendly so you can pop in with your furry friend for an afternoon pick-me-up, after a brisk walk in one of London’s parks.
When To Go
As a hotel bar, it’s open both day and night. Cocktail shakers usually start to make an appearance from around 2pm, making it the perfect spot for a rewarding glass of something delicious after a hard-day’s shopping.
The Dress Code
Anything goes and no-one would look twice if you popped in wearing your favourite jumper. But given its namesake inspiration and Mayfair location – where a dash of English eccentricity is always welcomed – we recommend dusting off the velvet blazer, adding a paisley print, and finishing your look with your favourite accessories.