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Food + Drink

A Seat At The Bar: Bar Kinky, Fitzrovia

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 enigmatic, female-founded Bar Kinky in Fitzrovia.

In the heart of Fitzrovia, just a stone’s throw away from some of London’s top Michelin restaurants, lies Kinkally (newly added to the Michelin guide), a Georgian-inspired restaurant championing the country’s rich heritage of cuisine with small plates such as its namesake, the khinkali (a traditional Georgian dumpling). Underneath it is Bar Kinky; a new bar complementing the Georgian menu with odes to its classic flavours such as goat’s cheese and tarragon.

New to the scene, Bar Kinky has already made an unconventional ‘kink’ in Charlotte Street’s blossoming restaurant and bar scene, with a quirky energy and flirtatious charm that exudes from the brazen flavour combinations of the cocktail served. Embrace your inner seductress and head underground for a sexy vibe – and cocktails that you won’t be able to find anywhere else in London.


The Lowdown

As soon as you stride down the steps that lead to Bar Kinky, the hustle and bustle of Fitzrovia hushes behind you, revealing a concealed world. Not overly stylised or pretentious, this is a space that sees no need to pretend to be anything it’s not, but that allows guests to be whoever they wish to be for the night.

The industrial interiors of raw metal bartops – minus any ornamental flourishes – are dimmed under the edgy-romance of playful red lighting, juxtaposing the frivolous cocktails that take centre stage. Curated by founder Diana Militski and with cocktails served by the unapologetically-bold stirs of mixologist Andrew Pruts, Bar Kinky offers a refreshing approach to London’s ever-evolving bar scene.


What To Order

The most popular cocktail on the menu is Koji made with yuzushu, sake and cream soda and is perfect for drinkers who prefer to stray from sweet drinks. The Artist is also worth trying and contains vodka from local supplier East London Liquor, alongside cherry, thyme and goat’s cheese, though you don’t need to be a cheese lover to enjoy it. There is a subtle synergy between the restaurant upstairs and Bar Kinky downstairs, through the svanetian salt used at both venues; a traditional ingredient in Georgian cuisine, it’s made from salt mixed with roughly 25 spices and uses a secret recipe from an artisan maker in the rural foothills of Georgia’s mountains.

Led by head mixologist Andrew Pruts, the double-sided menu bursts with serves that, unsuspectingly, hold a depth of flavour due to their complexity. One cocktail can take up to 25 minutes to make as fresh ingredients such as berries are vacuum freeze-dried for rapid infusion (designed to create stronger notes and aromas), while other ingredients are boiled and then cooled to change their consistency. For this reason, all cocktails are batch-made earlier in the week and then aerated, iced, and garnished with the likes of honeycomb, fresh herbs, and breaded crackers, once ordered. If needed, it’s worth checking which cocktails are vegan, as some ingredients are filtered through butter and cocoa before the solids are removed – a technique used to help extract flavour.

Take your time soaking in the different cocktails and ingredients on the menu, but ask about what’s available off-menu too: the top secret Light cocktail – a coconut tequila and Padron pepper margarita garnished with chilli spice and nutmeg – has not yet made it to the written menu but is already the fifth most popular, made so through word of mouth. With its refreshing summery hints yet savoury after-notes of nutmeg it’s clear to see why. The friendly and expert bar team will advise what to order based on the classic cocktails you usually turn to, or the flavour palettes you most enjoy.


When To Go

Bar Kinky is open Wednesday to Saturday every week, designed to ignite that playful end-of-week or weekend feeling. The opening hours are a relaxed “17:30 until late” and it’s worth a visit anytime you find yourself nearby. The sensual atmosphere of the dimmed lights bodes especially well for a post-dinner digestif or, if you’re on a date that’s going well, bring your guest here for an impressive, unhurried, and unforgettable finish to the evening.


Who To Bring

Someone you’re looking to impress and that you can ease into the cool, chic energy of the bar with. Perhaps you don’t wish to be spotted by or amongst Fitzrovia’s usual flock of bar-goers, and are therefore attracted to this underground intimacy. Most of all, you’ll need someone who will dare to try the unusual ingredients of the cocktail stirs.

While undeniably a little bit flirty, Bar Kinky is also a fun spot to visit with close friends for a different siren-esque atmosphere on girls’ night; venture downstairs after sharing plates of the khinkali upstairs. Akin to a private club that’s reserved for those in-the-know, parties of six plus are required to WhatsApp the bar team before visiting in order to be accommodated in the intimate space.


The Dress Code

Just like the flavours on the menu, anything goes at Bar Kinky and therefore there is no strict dress code. However, the subterranean bar boasts all the sultry splendour of its name ‘Kinky’, with dimly-lit mirrors for fleeting eye contact across the room, so why not slightly play into a sorceress-like style to suit. Embrace the low light of the bar with a darker palette, perhaps experimenting with a darker lipstick shade or top with a seductive neckline. Don’t forget a sharp glimmer of jewellery to reflect every so often under the red lights.


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