Where better to have my first post-lockdown drink out in the big, bad world than the brand-new Baccarat Bar at Harrods? It’s the first time in its 171-year history that the grande dame of department stores has had a standalone concept bar, and social distancing or no social distancing, I wanted in.
What was I expecting? Are you kidding? With Baccarat and Harrods joining forces, I wanted full-blown, in-your-face luxury. Of course, they nailed it. But in a chic-casual kind of way. There’s leather, there’s velvet, there’s original art, there’s Baccarat crystal – lots of Baccarat crystal – and there’s masses of drinks know-how and style. For me though, the best bit is, it’s totally accessible and despite the feeling of being in such a glamorous setting it’s not remotely blingy.
Put it this way, I’d feel equally at home if I popped in at 4pm after purchasing a little designer number upstairs as I would meeting up in the evening with girlfriends or a date (or even my mum, for that matter); it pretty much fits the bill for every occasion. And do you know what? Once safely cocooned in the rich, red hug-like space, I completely forgot that this was my first time out.
Enough of the room and on to the drinks… Not wishing to boast or anything but I’ve seen some pretty cool menus. This one though got me a little giddy inside. It’s filled with lots of details – some you might get, others not, but it doesn’t matter. What I loved about it was, everything is there for a purpose – from the specially commissioned art to illustrate each section, to the carefully thought-out descriptions and ‘frequency levels’. Each section is divided into colours and each colour reflects a particular style and mood. For instance, white is light, clean and refreshing, with bright and bubbly drinks such as The Arrival (Hendrick’s Gin, sugar snap distillate, fermented pea and rice oil – a stunner by the way), while violet is more contemplative and mysterious, as illustrated in the Hat – Trick (Del Maguey Vida Mezcal, banana wine, compact caramelised dairy and cinchona bark).
All drinks are served in gorgeous Baccarat crystal, which makes the world seem like a much better place. And do yourself a favour, settle back in your chair and order the food, specially created to complement the menu (tip: beef sliders, smoked salmon and cheese on toast – uh-maze-zing!).
The verdict? I’m smitten. Beautifully balanced drinks served in THE most fabulous crystal glassware, lush setting and gorgeous bar snacks – what’s not to like?
Please check for opening details.
Baccarat Bar, Harrods, Door 5a on Hans Crescent, SW1. harrods.com
Review by The Cocktail Girl, from issue 35 of The Cocktail Lovers magazine, available now.