What: Never ones to do things by halves, the city juggernaut that is The Ned has recently opened its seventeenth bar, yes that’s right seventeenth and this time it’s an intimate Library Bar focusing on Champagne and martinis.
New? Yes it opened last month. Of course being in The Ned, it’s going to be popular with those going for drinks after work, but get in there now before the winter sets in when we can guarantee this snug bar will be all the more busy.
The Look: Tucked away to the side of Cecconi’s, Library Bar is a cosy space with low velvet armchairs, a handful of stools at the bar and, of course, row upon row of books lining the walls. Wouldn’t be much of a Library Bar really if it didn’t.
On the Menu: Martinis and plenty of them, you’ll find a whole page dedicated to gin martinis, one to vodka martinis and vermouths. There are 30 Champagnes to try both vintage and non-vintage, or, if you’re feeling particularly fancy then go for one of the vintage collection cocktails, inspired by the drinks of the early 1800s and each using rare spirits – they will set you back £100 but then so does the average train journey these days and I know which I’d prefer.
What We Ate: Rather than have its own kitchen, Library Bar makes use of the surrounding restaurants to serve up the likes of Scotch quail eggs, Wagyu beef tartar with kimchi mayo and nasturtium and parmesan and truffle chips. We couldn’t get enough of the manchego and chorizo bon bons, utterly moreish bites. The light salmon tataki with tobiko and sesame was an excellent accompaniment to the richer Champagne.
What We Drank: Whether it’s the narcissist in me or my middle child traits coming through, but I knew that the first cocktail I had to try was Breakfast at Emily’s. The Emily in question was Edwin ‘Ned’ Lutyens’ wife and there was talk of calling the bar Emily’s which (not that I’m bias) I think would have been a much better name. Still there’s Emily in New York which does quite possibly the best burger I’ve had. Taking quintessential elements of breakfast: butter, marmalade, toast and for some of us Champagne, they’ve created a cocktail which really does taste just like that. Made from buttered star of Bombay, Cointreau, marmalade, toast, citrus and Champagne it has a real nostalgic taste to it. Another drink that’s said to be particularly popular is The Royale Punch, made from Remy Martin VSOP, peach, early grey, citrus cordial, anis and Champagne – in fact all of the cocktails on the menu include Champagne.
If you like your Champagne without any dried fruit garnishes then we recommend the Thienot Cuvee Garance Blanc de Rouges, a creamier, biscuity Champagne made from Pinot Noir.
Go With: Wanting to take a date somewhere fancy but not stuffy? Go here. There’s all the glamour of the 1930s with the fun of The Ned.
Where: The Ned, 27 Poultry, Bank, EC2R 8AJ www.thened.com
Final Word: Tuck away from the rest of the bars, Library Bar is the sort of bar to cosy up in and get steadily tipsy on fine Champagne and excellent martinis. You’ll need a reservation so make sure you book.