To visit Flemings is to experience history in the present. As the hotel approaches its 170th birthday the hotel bar, Manetta’s, has been restored to its 1930s splendour. Reviving the hotel’s golden era, when Manetta’s was a favourite hideaway for scholars of literature and the arts, the decadent and sophisticated underground bar is once again the perfect place for classic aperitifs, inventive cocktails and indulgent nightcaps.
Manetta’s caught the imagination of writers such as Agatha Christie, who immortalised it in At Bertram’s Hotel and Sarah Helm, who used the bar as a backdrop in A Life In Secrets, a cloak and dagger Second World War spy thriller. Now you can be transported back to an earlier, grander age to be inspired yourself.
The interior has been created by designers Tully Filmer, who have been responsible for the entire hotel’s extensive refurbishment. Using a palatte of dark, sultry colours in Manetta’s, Tully Filmer have combined black upholstery and a mix of velvets and leather and reds contrasting with the polished rose gold detailing. Combined, the effect is one of sophisticated opulence. Guests can sip cocktails sitting on the black bar stools or Sheraton-style sofas, watched over by the portraits of Agatha Christie, Gertrude Stein, James Joyce and Alice B. Toklas, all painted by Sussex artist, Kate Boxer and forming the inspiration for the impressive cocktail list.
Cocktails include a Rose is a Rose is a Rose, a quote from Gertrude Stein, and includes Plantation 3 Stars Rum, Hibiscus liqueur, lime and grapefruit juice, shaken with egg white, or taste a Half a Step Outside the Circle, compriesed of Cherry Heering, blood orange syrup and Devaux Cuvée Champagne. Further cocktail options include various drinks named after Agatha Christie novels, including They Do It with Mirrors and Endless Night.
Finally the bar food isn’t your standard pork crackling or a bag of salt’n’vinegar, but rather it comes straight from the hotel’s award-winning restaurant and Shaun Rankin masterstroke, Ormer Mayfair. Small plates and larger dishes alike are carefully created for the bar menu, from seabass ceviche to a trusty cheeseburger.
There was a reason that Manetta’s was so iconic in its heyday and it seems that the old magic is gathering again. Head down to Manetta’s today to experience it firsthand, we promise you won’t be disappointed.
Manetta’s: Is open now, Flemings Mayfair, 7-12 Half Moon Street, Mayfair, W1J 7BH, www.flemings-mayfair.co.uk