Sitting on Conduit Street, The Westbury Hotel’s Polo Bar certainly knows a thing or two about cocktails having won bar of the year in the London 2014 Lifestyle Awards, so when I needed somewhere to meet a friend for drinks I thought I’d go and see if it did live up to its accolade.
Despite its art déco interior, the exterior is unassuming, the Polo sign is, dare I say it a little dated, in a sort of mid -90s, red wine and cigarettes dated. That all changes when you’re inside though, it gives way to a smart primarily mahogany and navy dressed room. Velvet chairs are dotted throughout and a long marble topped bar sweeps down one side of the room. It has a feeling of a gentlemen’s club, especially given that the two of us were fifty percent of the women in there… it was apparent it was a bar to go to, if you were conducting business drink or wanted to take the edge off a tough day in the office. It was oppulent, civilised, quiet and not the sort of place to be rowdy, thankfully.
The cocktail list, which is of course what we were there for is substantive and features the 18 new summer cocktails. The menu is broken down into signature cocktails (definitely try out the Pomegranate Deluxe), martinis, Polo coolers, Champagne cocktails and ‘Old School’ which features classic and perhaps forgotten cocktails that really should be on every cocktail list, and every time the menu is update new lost classic are added; like the Vieux Carré a favourite in 1938 and made with Rittenhouse rye whisky, Hennessey VS, Antica Formula Benedictine and bitters.
If you both order a martini then your guest is given a miniature version of your drink, so both order different ones and you get to try two drinks (winning), our favourite was the Scarlet Gem; Ilegal Mezcal Joven, with orange marmalade, Campari and Cocchi Barolo Chicato. Finish off with a Polo cooler – a longer, refreshing cocktail, perhaps the Elderwood, which captures the taste of summer with Ketel One Vodka, elderflower, lemon, fresh mint and green tea.
If you’re after exceptional service and somewhere to actually enjoy a cocktail rather than be fazed by some gimmicky aspect of a bar or waste your time shouting over noise, then you should definitely seek out Polo Bar.
It seems like everyone is heading to Barcelona this year, and if you find yourself there then make sure you head to the OneOcean Club for the Polo Bar’s pop-up which will be celebrating the rise of the ‘Gin Tonic’ they’re there from the 26th August for a week with top chefs, mixologists and DJs.