“We want you to feel like this is your home,” whispers manager Mickael Perron as we take our seats in the Library Bar at The Lanesborough.
“This is a place where we greet returning guests as friends, it is the heart of the hotel.”
So far, as expected from one of the more luxurious hotel bars in the capital.
But where so many others merely pay lip service to these ideals, the Library Bar delivers in spades.
While not boisterous, the Library Bar is alive on a Friday night with in-house guests, curious visitors and the internationally wealthy, all of whom chat as the resident pianist coolly runs through his repertoire.
Designed to be a destination in its own right within the hotel, the bar seeks to portray an intimate atmosphere, welcoming to all.
In this spirit, and in the run-up to Christmas, Perron and his team have recently launched a new collection of miniature cocktails.
Allowing guests to try, explore, enjoy and share, the specially created menu encourages drinkers to try something new by choosing three mini cocktails instead of committing to one.
The signature cocktails are expertly fashioned to give visitors a snapshot of the talent, flavour and soul of the Library Bar.
As Perron explains: “It can be an economic commitment to select a cocktail.
“These drinks allow you to select three, to share with friends, and to make an evening into a celebration.”
On offer are timeless favourites, including the ‘Salty Agave Margarita’ and the ‘Caribbean Old Fashioned’, made with the Library Bar’s blend of aged rums selected for body, softness and aromas, and completed with Angostura Aromatic bitters.
Perron adds: “The thought process behind the miniature cocktails is similar to that of a tasting menu in a fine dining restaurant.
“We want to invite our guests on a sensory journey to discover the craft, passion and the rainbow of flavours that our bar has to offer.”
We start with a ‘Gentle Twinkle’, which partners lemongrass infused Sipsmith vodka with elderflower cordial and delicate Champagne before being topped off with a pansy, and an ‘Evergreen’, which combines London Sipsmith gin with fresh lime juice, homemade eucalyptus syrup, and champagne.
Needless to say both are exquisite, busting with flavour and immediately animating the evening.
Next is the hotel’s time-honoured classic ‘The Corner Martini’.
Prepared this time with gin, but also possible with vodka, and stirred with a hint of Manzanilla Sherry, the drink is served to the table before being aromatised with the ‘Lanesborough Lemon’ fragrance, creating a lavish atmosphere as we enjoy our drinks.
So often flourishes like this added without real thought, needlessly gilding the lily.
But the Library Bar matches a certain level of indulgence with a knowing restraint; it remains exclusive, but not gratuitous.
That said, for those who wish to flaunt their wealth, the Library Bar is home to Cognacs dating back to the 1770s, before the Napoleonic Wars – so there is a chance to indulge there.
Asked to explain the seemingly exorbitant price, Perron advises: “The angels take a share of all spirits during the maturation
“On average, about two per cent of the volume is lost in this way each year, and that’s why aged spirits become rarest as the years pass by.
“These cognacs and whiskies are among the rarest in the world.”
We conclude with a slightly more modest, though no less delicious, 15-year old Bowmore Scotch malt - a highlight of the extensive menu.
A fine mix of old English charm and contemporary mixology, the Library Bar is surprisingly inclusive for such an élite location and offers all guests chance to enjoy the very best in luxury hospitality.
Renovated as part of The Lanesborough’s acclaimed relaunch last year, The Library Bar offers a sanctuary away from the hustle and bustle of the capital, coming alive in the evenings with relaxed DJ sessions.
Dimmed lighting, grand surrounds, and the UK’s best Cognac selection helps the Library exude old-world charm and treats guests to a truly unique evening experience.
Find out more on the official website.