The Bloomsbury itself is a stunning hotel, and if you make your way downstairs you will not only find yourself in a 1920s-style bar filled with comfy leather chairs and flattering lighting, but a brand new terraced (and heated) area with exposed brickwork and decorated with fairy lights and candles. The drinks list comprises a fine range of spirits and cocktails cleverly named after many members of the original Bloomsbury Set. We tried a Champagne cocktail named after Roger Fry, the painter and critic, and a delicious gin and raspberry concoction called ‘Virginia Woolf’. A ‘Wet Congress’ related to John Maynard Keynes, the economist, which prompted a discussion about economics that was thankfully cut short by our food arriving!
The food offering in the bar is succinct but just right, we had moved in from the terrace to the inside bar (and a slightly bigger table to host all the food we had ordered), and tucked into delicious salt and pepper squid, tuna tartare on Guinness bread with avocado, and Aberdeen Angus burgers with the most indulgent truffle and Parmesan fries. Definitely up a gear from the usual offerings in a bar, this was more like a really good dinner in the most relaxing and luxurious surroundings. It felt like a private members’ bar, but without the pomp or pretentiousness, or indeed price. Whoever had control of the music playlist in the bar certainly knows their Marvin Gayes from their Rick Astleys; we listened to a great selection of northern and deep funky soul tracks while we were there. Excellent service from the knowledgeable and friendly staff, big chairs to lounge in, cocktails and carafes of wine, it felt like a million miles away in both distance and years from the 21st century.
Coming up at the BCB is a ‘Club Residencies Project’, which will see residencies from some of the world’s greatest bars. Initiated by BCB’s Bar Manager Brian Calleja, the first of these is Athens’ world-renowned cocktail bar, The Clumsies, and they’ll be in charge of the cocktails from Wednesday 2nd to Friday 4th November. Get down there early, grab a comfy spot, order some food and try out some quirky cocktails from award-winning mixologists. It’s what November would want you to do.