Tucked away inside the Chelsea Cloisters, a luxury apartment complex with gleaming white walls and glossy marble floors, Bart’s is truly a hidden gem that is a surprising juxtaposition to the building within which it’s nestled.
Having arrived in London that morning, fresh off the red eye from New York, I knew there was only one cure for my jet lag and exhaustion: cocktails. Fabulous cocktails. Editor-in-Chief Charlotte Lynham promised Bart’s would deliver and I was ready to put it to the test.
We discovered a discreet black door after wandering through the lobby of the Chelsea Cloisters and made our way into the Mickey Mouse wallpapered waiting chamber of this Sloane Avenue hideaway. After a quick knock at the door, we were warmly welcomed into a cozy, eclectic space with a mysterious yet comforting feel. No stranger to the speakeasy bar scene of New York, I was thoroughly impressed with how friendly and unpretentious the vibe was at Bart’s. It’s the kind of place that you feel like you’ve been to a dozen times, yet you can barely blink because you’re taking in every square inch of the diverse and downright bizarre paraphernalia that lines the walls. A Mona Lisa speckled with graffiti and sombreros in which guests can adorn themselves are just a few examples of the quirky décor Bart’s boasts brazenly, making it such a dynamic dwelling.
After getting settled into our table, Charlotte and I anxiously thumbed through the drink menu while the hostess handed out small white sheets of paper to the guests. Raising an eyebrow, we asked what the notes were for and she excitedly told us that there was a keyboard player about to perform who took requests. For two girls who are obsessed with 80’s music, this was the salt rim on our Margaritas, so to speak. We feverishly wrote down as many George Michael and Simple Minds songs as we could and passed off our selections to Michael “Jukebox” Moore, who played all of our songs in their entirety without skipping a beat (pun totally intended). By the time we got our first round of drinks, the entire bar was engaged in an Oasis sing-along, Charlotte and I included.
Our cocktails were promptly delivered to our table and Charlotte and I toasted to our reunion while taking our first sip. Her first pick, called the “Holy Smoke”, was a tobacco-infused liqueur with Hennessy V. S. cognac, Havana Club 8 Y.O. & vanilla. I chose a drink called “12 Years” which was a 12 year-old whiskey on the rocks with pieces of dark chocolate dancing in my glass. And I’m not talking about chocolate shavings; these were actual large pieces of chocolate that nicely offset the sting of the whiskey and also served as a mini dessert. Although we enjoyed our first round, we truly fell in love with Bart’s when we tasted our next selection…
Enter the Esta Padre.
If you’re a fan of smoky, spicy cocktails then look no further. Bartender and General Manager Vincenzo Sibilia nailed it with this drink: Don Julio Reposado, red pepper syrup and secret chilli sauce make this cocktail irresistibly perfect. Just the right blend of each flavor, we loved this one so much we had 2 more each. Goodbye jet lag!
Insisting we try at least one more drink before heading off to Maggie’s for some dancing, Vincenzo visited our table to check in with us and ask what else he could treat us to based on our flavor preferences – always something I appreciate from a true mixologist who loves their craft. As true Champagne Girls, Charlotte and I decided to go with something bubbly to end our experience and chose the “Supernova.” Moet & Chandon Brut served up in a flute with Chamboard-soaked raspberries made for a sweet ending to an even sweeter evening.
If you’re looking for a cozy atmosphere with outstanding service and serious cocktails, then Bart’s is your place.
I’m already planning my return. Better stock up on that chilli sauce, guys.
87 Sloane Avenue
London SW3 3DW