The Handbook
The Handbook

New? Yes, the bar only opened last month.

Where?  Part of The Bloomsbury, the bar has its own entrance and sits beneath Dalloway Terrace, 16-22 Great Russell Street, Bloomsbury WC1B 3NN,

On the menu: The drinks list is divided into three sections, the first being The Bloomsbury Set where you’ll find the key figures reimagined as cocktails take E.M Forster for example who makes an appearance as Haymans Old Tom Gin, Plymouth sloe gin and orange. The second set is the Time Honoured where you’ll find the likes of Gin and Milk and Hard Boiled and finally the Fine and Rare where you can choose from drinks such as Hennessy XO 1960 and John Jameson 15 yo VS.

 Bloomsbury Club Bar -
First Impressions: 
Anyone who I’ve ever been out with whether it’s to a restaurant, bar, theatre, in fact anywhere, will tell you that I’m not particularly good with empty spaces. I clam up, my shoulders hunch and I get conscious that the waiters and waitresses can hear everything I’m saying and so talk in hush tones – I just can’t relax. That was until I went to Bloomsbury Club Bar, on a Monday things were on the quiet side (I will definitely be paying a visit at the weekend) but with its intimate booths and hidden alcoves it’s the perfect place to be the only people. Since the terrace is separate to the bar you can feel as if you’re just in your own little world being brought over a cocktail every so often.

The Look:  Split into two areas, you can either sit inside or on the terrace. Inside is ideal for a cold winter’s afternoon when you just want to turn your back on grey miserable London, it has the feel of a library you might find in Cluedo merged with a gentleman’s club. Books synonymous with the Bloomsbury Set line the shelves and artwork adorns the walls. Dark greens, deep reds and mahogany make up the palette – as I said it’s perfect for a rainy November afternoon. The terrace however is the winner, big booths filled with cushions to sink into and blankets to snuggle up in and exposed brick work arches decorated with twinkling fairy lights and foliage. You forget you’re in London.

What We Ate:  Buttery green olives, honey roasted nuts, chunky courgette fries which could have done with being a little thinner and the batter crisper and chicken and chorizo sliders, which were full of flavour but a little dry.

The Bloomsbury Club Bar - 1

What We Drank:  Choosing from the Bloomsbury set we went for husband and wife cocktails, Leonard and Virginia Woolf. The Leonard Woolf was made from Makers Mark, orange and a subtle hint of ginger. It is the sort of drink that you want to sip in a library whilst discussing the important subjects in life; whilst the Virginia Woolf would suit those looking for something sweeter, a gin based cocktail it’s made with lemon, raspberry shrub, Cochi Americano and finished with egg white.  They then said they wanted to make a cocktail not on the menu, one that was again based on an Old Fashioned but with a smokier edge, the smokiness came from Laphroaig but sweetness came from calvados, rhubarb and chocolate bitters and a grating of dark chocolate. Smoky, sweet, a little bitter and aptly titled the Miss Gray.

Go With: Your date, on a Friday or Saturday night when you’ve had a few drinks after work, something to eat and you’re not ready to go home. Tell them you know this wonderful little bar, look like you’re in the know and prepare to feel seriously smug.

Final Word: Is this my new favourite bar in London? Yes I think so. Add it to your bucket list.