Gin in Art Deco Splendour
Tucked away above Simpson’s in the Strand’s Grand Divan, this small gem of a bar is too frequently overshadowed by its neighbours at the Savoy
Review by Rupert Watkins
Simpson’s in the Strand is world famous for its traditional fare of English beef and lamb. With its Grand Divan having played host to the great and the good for over a century and the powerhouse American and Beaufort bars next door at the Savoy Hotel, Simpson’s Knight’s Bar has never quite got the plaudits it deserves. Opened in 1999, it is a supremely elegant and chic spot to sink a cocktail and it has recently refined and expanded its gin menu.
In a small but very tastefully furnished space, the bar sits no more than 30 on an array of comfortable sofas and chairs. There is a very 1920s feel to the Art Deco inspired room with mirrors and traditional English sporting and satirists prints adorning the walls alongside a gleaming marble topped bar.
Knight’s Bar has enlarged its gin selection so that both the gin fanatic and just merely curious have plenty of scope. It does not boast of having the largest gin selection in London, but its selection of 30 odd are carefully broken down by type into juniper heavy, citrus, floral and complex tasting groups. Smaller gin distilleries such as 45W and their Burleighs gin, Cremorne Colonel Fox and Gin Mare are all available. At the heart of their refreshed menu are their Simpson’s Signature Serves – a selection of ten carefully paired gins with the correct garnish and appropriate tonic – be it Fentimans or Fevertree. Coming in between 11 and 13 quid these are very reasonably priced for the urbane surroundings.
My Colonel Fox with Star Anise, candied Ginger and Fevertree was delicious and refreshing – the candied ginger offering a little bite to lift the drink. Those desiring more cocktails are well catered for gin wise with offerings such as the Kit Kat Club (Tanqueray, strawberry cordial, lime, rose wine, basil and balsamic vinegar) and Dicken’s Mule (Beefeater, Cointreau, lemon juice, Savoy marmalade and ginger beer). Smaller but well selected ranges of wines and whiskies are also available. For those not partaking in the feast downstairs a small selection of very moreish bar snacks are available – with dishes such as Honey Panko Prawn, Devilled White Bait and Duck Spring Roll weighing in at around six quid these will accompany a snifter or three admirably.
Those seeking a supremely comfortable and stylish bar – and perhaps needing respite from the tourist hordes across the road in Covent Garden – should follow in the footsteps of Dickens and Sherlock Holmes and head for 100 Strand and turn left up the richly carpeted stairs to this stylish gin sanctuary.
Enquiries: Knight’s Bar, Upstairs – Simpson’s in the Strand, 100 Strand, London WC2R 0EW / 0207 8369112 / www.simpsonsinthestrand.co.uk/knights-bar.php