The Berkeley Bar & Terrace — London, UK
A new bar has opened in London’s The Berkeley hotel, complementing the much-loved Blue Bar. Designed by local outfit Bryan O’Sullivan Studio, The Berkeley Bar and Terrace marks the firm’s first hospitality project in the city, and celebrates rare vintages, in a well-contextualised setting, filled with clever references.
Where David Collins’ Blue Bar is famously bathed in calming Lutyens Blue; beiges and creams complete O’Sullivan’s colour story, with deep, wooden accents playing a central role, throughout. Taken from a single walnut tree (the renowned Fulbeck Walnut, a 300-year-old walnut tree that fell in the great storm of 2007), the paneling is accented by coral-toned furnishings, and bubble-glass wall lighting, deftly sidestepping the space becoming too dark and oppressive.
High, Brutalist-inspired arches curve down from the ceiling, demarcating the space, and referencing the home of the Grenadiers (an infantry regiment of the British Army) whose stables were originally located on the Wilton Place grounds where the hotel was built.
The bijou Snug, room enough for nine, can be booked privately, featuring its own music control system and sliding doors for extra privacy. Inside, a mural by New York-based artist TM Davy (who makes a departure here from his more photo-realistic work) covers the curving wall. Inspired by traditional ‘snugs’ in public houses, typically reserved for women, the artwork features female faces gazing outwards knowingly, in various taupe shades.
They aloofly observe a simple, and tightly edited menu of bar snacks and small plates. ‘Chicken tulips’ are filled with sweet-spicy Gochujang emulsion, and the nibbles are refreshingly pared-back. Think, unfussy bowls of roughly-hewn parmesan served alongside rolls of folded salami.
Furnished from the central half-moon marble bar, the rare wines and dark spirits remain the stars of the show. A neat edit of Expert’s Choices will guide you through the extensive list, featuring timeless classics, and soon-to-be-favourites, like small batch rums.§