Situated on Portman Square, (I really love this part of town) you already feel that you are not in Kansas anymore.. and as soon as you walk through the door you feel as though you have stepped, not only back in time, but back in the company of Mr Churchill himself…
The stunning interior is designed by the internationally renowned design house, Bespoke by Brigitta Spinocchia, who have created a beautiful, luxurious and inviting bar, brimming with early 1900’s authenticity and a gorgeous Art Deco feel.
It is also filled with subtle references to a young Winston Churchill and his beloved wife, Clementine, which include pieces of art, travel, books, (curated by Daunt Books) animals, champagne, cigars and whisky.
I didn’t know very much about Churchill and Clementine’s relationship before my visit, but from my short time at the Churchill Bar it became clear that theirs was a very special, romantic and beautiful partnership. Sweet notes and love letters they wrote to each other appear, handwritten, in the menu along with small illustrations of animals they used to draw to sign off. Sir Winston was a dog, (or most commonly a Pig) and Clementine, a cat.
You might notice some locally knitted animals sitting among the books in the bookshelves… Jock, (a marmalade cat) Rufus (a dog) and Pig, (you can guess). These also emulate Churchill’s use of his children’s toys as bookmarkers in his library at Chartwell. I think he and I would have got on rather well.
“We mix Colonel Fox’s London Dry Gin with the finest Gloucestershire greengages and pear liqueurs. This is combined with a balance of apples and fresh lemon to give this drink a taste of the countryside”
Prepared by a wizard, (you should see him go – it was amazing to watch) it was completely delicious. The staff are exceptionally knowledgeable and are delighted to engage in all kinds of conversations about flavours, history and technique.. why is a drink muddled or shaken and not stirred? They KNOW!
There is also a delicious food menu with a strong British identity offering some of Churchill’s personal favourites, such as Welsh Rarebit, pork scratchings, potted shrimp, oysters and Scotch quail’s eggs…
And finally, the stunning (and heated) private terrace will make alfresco drinking a highlight of the Summer. Open until 1am, you can enjoy a classic cocktail and a cigar, (not suggesting you take up smoking, but if you are that way inclined…) and relax in the glamorous glow of secret London, wonderful food and drink and outstanding service.
The attention to detail is quite extraordinary. Every little thing you see (and don’t see) in this beautiful bar has been carefully thought about and selected by those who care passionately about Churchill and London. In doing so they have managed to bring his character and the era he lived in as a young man, to life.
There is a story in every corner… and I loved it.
The Churchill Bar and Terrace
30 Portman Square