Sometimes thinking of a bar to grab some cocktails when you’re in Central London can be a pain. You want someplace that’s easy to get to, but nothing that has become a tourist trap. Equally, you want fun and inventive cocktails that are going to be worth the money you pay for them. And, if it’s a Friday night and you’re like me, you want somewhere that has an atmosphere combining chilled-out cool with chic surroundings.
Enter Noir W1 – located just West enough to be classed as Mayfair, and exuding all the slick style one would expect from such geographical partiality. The exterior is an intriguing black that gives little away. Tables are placed on the strip outside where shisha pipes can be enjoyed in the now balmy evenings. When we arrived, there were several revelers taking advantage of this people-watching vantage point, all with very exciting-looking libations. We shimmied past the bouncer and entered Noir bar.
The place is actually a bit of a tardis, continuing from the sophisticated cocktail bar down into a more flirty and frisky basement room that is known as the ‘Frolic Room’, and is open until 3am. It looks like quite a night could be had down here, although we stayed upstairs and perused the cocktail list in the glam surroundings of black leather couches, glimmering lighting and risqué red touches.
The cocktail menu is truly impressive – a little bit cheeky, a little bit fun, but ultimately very serious in its creativity. The bartenders who are responsible must have a damn fine knowledge of spirits, that’s for sure.
I was thrilled to see my favourite tipple of the moment on the menu – Mezcal – served in the Conflicted Hero that also embraced tequila, vermouth and smoke. The result was a divine, smoldering drink that packed a huge punch and yet had layers of complexity on the finish.
Imaginative and carefully thought-out combinations are a calling card of the Noir cocktails. We adored the Chinatown – a mix of vodka, spiced ginger beer, yuzu and aromatic herbs that had a kick from the ginger plus a citrus sweetness from the yuzu, and was served with a garnish of fragrant herbs so that every time we brought it closer to our face for a sip we got a waft of oriental garden.
Another favourite was undoubtedly the Scarlett Fever – Rum, blueberries, violet & blueberry liqueurs and blue mist tea, again garnished with a pretty addition of flowers. The fruit worked perfectly with the sweetness of rum and delicacy of tea, and made for a long refreshing drink that was a delight from first sip to last. Plus there was no way I was leaving without trying the Femme Fatale – Coffee bean Vodka, coffee liqueur, smoked cream and of course the addition of ‘kisses’. It did actually bring to mind the caressing touch of soft lips, so velvety and luxurious was the libation.
And that’s not all – Noir has a truly enticing snack list too. When we entered a group of four girls were sharing a delicious looking pizza, and options like Truffled Mac n Cheese and Oxtail Nuggets will have you hankering after the food just as much as the drinks.
Noir W1 provides the perfect place to get into the mood for a night out, with its seductively shadowed ambience, cool DJ, and swanky interior – and it still maintains a sense of exclusivity. It’s impressive to see they’ve put as much attention to the cocktails they’re serving as they have to making it such a great venue. So when you want a glamorous evening with great drinks then don’t be left in the dark – visit Noir W1.