Top 5 West London Bars by Seetal Savla

It’s all too easy to get stuck in a rut when it comes to picking places to go for a drink. We all have our favourites, which have usually come about through a lengthy trial and error process, so straying from the norm can seem very daunting. This is especially true for a first date, where you want to minimise the risk of things going pear-shaped. Luckily, I’ve tried and tested a few places for you across our constantly evolving capital, and this latest post is all about winging it in West London.

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Bar Boulud
http://www.barboulud.com/london/
Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park, 66 Knightsbridge, London, SW1X 7LA
Closest station: Knightsbridge
Average price per cocktail: £12

Hotel bars were seen as unfriendly and uninspiring, but this is a thing of the past, particularly for a bar which calls the magnificent Mandarin Oriental home. Named after its French founder Daniel Boulud, Bar Boulud proudly displays an extensive wine collection all around. Swot up on the difference between a Jeroboam, Balthazar and Melchior beforehand to impress on the night, or if wine isn’t your thing, make a beeline for the cocktail menu. Choose from the likes of Champagne Mojitos, Green Gems (Provençal vodka, cucumber, apple, absinthe, yuzu, almond) and Caribbean Bird (Chairman’s Reserve spiced rum, blood orange, lime, mint, chilli). Peckish punters can nibble on the fluffiest Gougères (Gruyère cheese puffs) and calamari, or move to the restaurant to feast on gourmet burgers, chicken tagine and mussels. For the lowdown on my meal, check out my blog post here.

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Beach Blanket Babylon (BBB)
http://www.beachblanket.co.uk/nottinghill/
45 Ledbury Road, Notting Hill, London, W11 2AA
Closest station: Notting Hill Gate
Average price per cocktail: £12

When the summer months are almost over and you’re craving somewhere cosy and romantic, then Beach Blanket Babylon is for you. Get comfortable on richly embroidered vintage furniture in front of a large roaring fire as you contemplate the wine, Champagne and cocktail menus. Order a Rhubarb Spritz (rhubarb vodka, Aperol, Prosecco) if you need perking up, a Loved Up (tequila, pink grapefruit, pomegranate, camomile) if you’re already smitten or a classic El Presidente (Plantation 5-year rum, Solerno liqueur, Martini Rosso, blood orange syrup) if you’re feeling cool, calm and collected. Prolong the evening with dishes like crispy duck, teriyaki salmon and green vegetable curry from the equally relaxing restaurant.

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Dirty Bones
http://dirty-bones.com/
20 Kensington Church Street, London, W8 4EP
Closest station: High Street Kensington
Average price per cocktail: £9

OK, the name doesn’t exactly inspire confidence, but this place wouldn’t be based just off High Street Kensington if it didn’t have any class. Offering New York-style menus, you can expect Dirty Faves likes the Mutt’s Nuts (Woodford Reserve bourbon, spice-infused maple syrup, Angostura bitters, lemon, apple), Dirty Specials such as Lavender Martini (Tanqueray gin, lavender and gomme syrup, egg white, lemon juice) and something sweet like a Cherry Bakewell (Amaretto, Midori, Morello cherry, lemon, pomegranate). To up the fun ante, why not try one each from the five sections? If the names and ingredients don’t have you salivating already, maybe this titillating titbit will: cocktails are priced at £5 between 5-7pm at this branch on weekdays. Food is finger-licking good – crispy fried chicken, baby back ribs and deep-fried mac balls – and once you’ve polished it off, dance it off on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights to the sounds of old skool hip hop, funk and soul.

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Rum Kitchen
http://nottinghill.therumkitchen.com/
6-8 All Saints Road, W11
Closest stations: Ladbroke Grove, Westbourne Park
Average price per cocktail: £10

If your reaction to the autumn/winter season is, “No, I’m not ready yet!”, you need a little Rum Kitchen action in your life. With a slogan like “No Rum, No Rainbow”, this hidden gem is the perfect place to forget about the cold weather, layering up and chapped lips. Instead of covering them in lip balm, wrap them around a Jerk Mary (Puerto Rican spiced rum, tomato juice, jerk spices), Smoked Daiquiri (Haitian Agricole rum, grapefruit, apricot liqueur, lime) or the very smooth LL Cool J (St Lucian white rum, cherry and lychee liqueur, lemongrass, yuzu, apple juice). There are wine and beer options as well, but why would you want those when you can have such colourful-sounding cocktails instead? Take a break and line your stomachs with coconut, sweet potato and pumpkin curry, jerk bowls and burgers and tropical sea bream ceviche before burning off the calories on the dance floor.

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Trailer Happiness
http://www.trailerhappiness.com/drink.html
177 Portobello road, London W11 2DY
Closest station: Ladbroke Grove, Notting Hill Gate
Average price per cocktail: £9 

Continue the Caribbean sunshine theme at Trailer Happiness, where the décor, food, drinks and attitude are all bright and beautiful. It’s pretty hard not to have a good evening when you’re sipping on heavenly concoctions like Hawaiian Mist (Bombay Sapphire Gin, Remy Martin VSOP, pineapple, almond syrup), the Big Kahuna (Finlandia vodka, Maraschino liqueur, hibiscus syrup) and Port Light (banana-infused Woodford Reserve bourbon, agave citrus, grenadine). Unfortunately, the kitchen is temporarily closed, but there’s food aplenty in the nearby area, so you always pop out for food before retracing your steps to get your fill of reggae, funk and jazz-influenced hip hop on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights. For educational types, the venue hosts a Rum Club including presentations, tasting and cocktails.

Check out more of Seetal’s reviews


Bio: Seetal Savla is the founder of www.savlafaire.com, a new food and lifestyle blog focusing on London restaurant reviews, foodie events and product/book launches. Living in the city for almost 10 years now and working as a Lifestyle Account Manager for a global concierge company has provided her with plenty of experiences to share on the blog. Prior to becoming a Londoner, Seetal lived in Paris and Montreal for several years and therefore speaks fluent French. Being surrounded by good food, wine and culture in both of these cities inspired her to get involved in London’s thriving restaurant and bar scene.

 

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