Anyone for Drinks?

Today I feel like doing something a little different on SW Fashion. We all know that fashion covers many different areas, everything from clothes to cakes and back again, so SW Fashion is going to branch out a little bit and I hope you enjoy it!

Ever since moving to London I have become something of a cocktail connoisseur. Growing up in Edinburgh, cheap shots of syrupy Soorz and bottles of Cherry VK were my weekend poison, and always left me with a vile hangover and terrible skin. I suppose I have become rather more sophisticated in my ripe old age- you know, now that it is actually legal for me to drink.

I make no effort to hide my fondness for Champagne. I am a terrible student, I grant you that. I will settle for Cava or Prosecco, but Pol Roger on ice is where it is at, ideally sipped with a dozen Ondine oysters. My obsession with cocktails probably started with a few Bellinis and Rossinis, a slightly sweeter and cheaper alternative to my beloved fizz, and the obsession has blossomed from there. Apologies to my bank account and waistline, cocktails are yet another indulgence which I cannot refuse.

There is something so feminine and fashionable about cocktails. The perfect way to relax after a hard week at work, stylish sorts just get their beaded blouse, skinny jeans and Louboutins on and off they go to get their weekly Martini fix- they have earned it, of course! It's the SATC thing again, really. As much as we may love a pint down the pub, it is a real girly thing to gossip and giggle over a few sugary concoctions.

So this will be my first post featuring some of London's best places for a cheeky tipple. Ranging from the luxurious (the delightful pear and green tea Bellini at Roka) to the simple (the ever changing, but fantastic, jam-jar cocktails at The Shop), London is a haven of lovely little places just waiting to be discovered.

Let's kick things off with a cocktail bar with a little bit more decadence than your standard haunt. I have come to realise that London really is a city of hidden gems- if you know where to look, you are sorted. We have been to a couple of bars nestled in the most unremarkable, and unexpected, surroundings. A case in point being Lounge Lover in Shoreditch.

I am not, for one second, insinuating that Lounge Lover is in a dodgy area. Shoreditch is one of London's most bustling and desirable villages, even if it is a little oversaturated with those tedious "hipsters". The area around Lounge Lover is just rather ordinary, contradicting the image I had created from the website. I had been imagining some sort of plush paradise, draped with orchids with a candlelit glow, and instead got a grey cobbled street. I suppose, though, that adds to the charm of Lounge Lover- it is the very definition of a hidden treasure.

Not that it is without it's merits. Having been awarded both the Evening Standard's Bar of The Year and The Observer Food Monthly's Best Bar in Britain awards, you know that you are in for a real treat.

The interior is certainly magical. Themed areas like the Baroque and the Gold rooms add a bit of variety if ever you were to grow tired of the oversized ming vases, antique armchairs and rich jewel tones of the main area. Not particularly likely, as far as i'm concerned! Glistening chandeliers and delightful art keep it modern, and the little candles twinkling on each table add a relaxing vibe.

We visited for a friend's birthday on a rather quiet weekday evening, but the bar remained reasonably busy with a great atmosphere and a predictably cool crowd. It is a lovely place to impress someone or just unwind and relax. I only wish, however, that we had come a little earlier to sample some of the food at Lounge Lover which sounds beyond delicious. Crispy squid (£7.50), Japanese pumpkin croquettes (£4), Black Cod (£15- but could it ever live up to Nobu?) all sound delightful, alongside more traditional sushi offerings including platters at around £20/£30.

Alas, we went elsewhere for dinner and, having skipped dessert, we needed something sweet to round off the evening. The Lounge Lover cocktail menu is a treat. A friend opted for the indulgent but heavenly Strawberry Lolly (£9)- a frothy, creamy concoction of Sagatiba Pura caçhaca, strawberries, coconut and cream which was just heaven in a glass. It was like a piná colada, only nicer.It literally tasted like the best strawberry lolly ever. Other carefully considered potions include the obligatory LoungeLover- fig liqueur and sweet vanilla doused in champagne (£9), the spicy Bit on the Side- cinnamon and vanilla mixed with whiskey and lemon and a hint of Pedro Ximenez (£10), the fresh Restless Romance- apple vodka, sweet Sake and elderflower cordial with a splash of caramel liqueur (£8.50) and the intriguing Zatoichi marrying neat vodka with wasabi, cucumber and ginger (£9).

You could spend hours poring over the delicious cocktails and you could spent a couple more deciding between your favourites! I only opted for one in the end. "Could I have a Love Letter, please?" The Love Letter, a special addition for February which still appears on the menu, was tres, tres boozy but still so light and sweet. I adored the elderflower and raspberry Stolichnaya combination, served in a cocktail glass with a little raspberry for decoration. It did go to my head a little bit, but it was just gorgeous.

I would happily, and certainly will, go back! My favourite London cocktail bar to date.

I suppose, though, as this is a new feature I will just have to sample a few other places too? It's a hard life but I guess i'll see you at The Ninetyeight, my next venture.

Drinks on you? Cheers to that!

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