Around the World in 19 Gins…
If there was a gin from deepest Peru, our famous bear would doubtless be a barfly (a barbear?) at his namesake bar, 146 Paddington
Review by Martin Stickley
Summer is out and gin is in – or at least that’s what the team at Hilton Paddington are telling us – and who are we to argue when their new hotel bar offers to take you on a journey around the world in 19 gins. Now I’ve been to a fair few bars who pride themselves on the number of spirit varieties they have in their armoury so I suppose that given the resurgence which gin has seen recently it was only a matter of time that I got around to giving my G&T palette a good work out.
Situated just inside the lobby of the Hilton Hotel in Paddington, 146 used to be known as the Steam Bar but has now been renamed, redesigned and rejuvenated in its new guise as a gin-centric cocktail bar. The interior is contemporary and chic with the interior somewhat resembling a pastel coloured high-end clothing boutique. The lighting was soft and dimmed when I arrived on an early mid-week evening giving the bar a relaxed yet intimate feel and I certainly felt more at home chatting away to my partner than I would have done in a group of friends, but that’s more likely down to the relatively early time of my visit rather than the surroundings, I would expect the atmosphere to be much warmer at a busier time.
146 boasts around 50 – 60 gins on their menu, including the 19 gins for the gin journey, which is incredibly impressive. They also offer a diverse assortment of other options should you not be a gin fan, with wine, champagne, rum and other more familiar spirits in good number. They also have a comprehensive list of juices, mocktails and soft drinks for the tea-totallers.
The cocktail list is equally extensive with a good mix of classics along with around 15 house specials. The ones I sampled were all mixed with obvious skill and were delightfully presented. I did find the service a little slow however, especially considering that there weren’t many other patrons in the bar. Despite this minor complaint I found it particularly enlightening chatting with the bar tender whose knowledge of the gins and their botanicals was comprehensive and genuinely interesting. The gin journey itself features 19 gins, each paired with their own garnish which perfectly complements the individual botanical characteristic. The result is that you’re taken on a trip through several types of gin which are likely to be unfamiliar to you, the result being both a pleasure to the taste bud and the eye given the diversity of flavour. If you’re looking for something unique I can recommend the Hoxton gin which has a smooth, creamy texture with a clean coconut finish. Or if you want something more traditional try Bobby’s Schiedam, a classic dry Dutch gin which is crisp and sharp with the familiar floral tang of juniper. 25ml servings of gin from the main menu cost between £5 – 7 and around £12 for a 50ml serving from the gin journey menu. On that basis, I would say the pricing is reasonable given the quality and variety of the spirits available.
If you would like some food with your G&T then 146 also offer light dishes and platters from 11:00 – 23:00 and even afternoon tea from 12:00 – 18:00.
Enquiries: 146 Paddington, at Hilton London Paddington, 146 Praed Street, London W2 1EE / 0207 850 0500 / www.146paddington.com/