As I grow more advanced in age, the way I choose to socialise is dictated by my increasing maturity; I honestly couldn’t tell you the last time I spent dancing/carousing in a club/rave. An ideal evening out is either dinner in a smartish restaurant or post –work drinks in a cute, intimate, bar, such as Manetta’s Bar, one of Mayfair’s best kept secrets.
Located in the basement of the luxury boutique hotel Flemings Mayfair, next to Ormer Mayfair, the restaurant from Michelin-starred chef Shaun Rankin, is Manetta’s Bar a decadent and sophisticated hangout oozing with old school glamour and steeped in rich history; it has been immortalised in Agatha Christie’s At Bertram’s Hotel and within Sarah Helm’s A Life in Secrets, a real life cloak-and-dagger tale of Vera Atkins, one of Britain’s premiere secret agents during World War II; the secluded corners were ideal for a touch of war time espionage.
Quintessentially British, the 1930s’-inspired bar has been re-created by renowned interior designers Tully Filmer Ltd, also responsible for the hotel’s multi-million pound refurbishment. A dark and sultry colour palette of black upholstery, polished rose gold detailing and jewel red alongside soft velvet and supple leather exudes sophisticated opulence.
Cosy up on one of the intimate Sheraton-style sofas for a secretive tête-à-tête, or pull up one of the beautiful red and black bar stools to watch masterful mixologists. Bold portraits of Agatha Christie, Gertrude Stein, James Joyce and Alice B. Toklas by Sussex artist, Kate Boxer, adorn the walls and are the inspiration for some of the creative cocktails – try a Rose is a Rose is a Rose, one of Gertrude Stein’s most famous quotes: Plantation 3 Stars Rum, Hibiscus liqueur, lime and grapefruit juice, shaken with egg white.
If wine is more your preference, a visit to The Barrel Room, a brand-new wine cellar, renovated from the original which dates back to 1851, is recommended. Opt for either private wine tastings or bespoke fine wine packages. The fine wine immersive events are hosted by award-winning sommelier and Ormer Mayfair Wine Director Andreas Rosendal, with each package featuring six unique wines perfectly paired with a selection of innovative canapés or cheese. These intimate tastings are perfect for wine enthusiasts, bon viveurs, family celebrations and client entertaining.
Silver – English Wines the Past, Present and Future
Featuring the winning wines from the 2016 Paris Blind Tasting – 2012 Rosé, Gusbourne and 2009 Blanc des Blancs, Nyetimber.
Cost: £450 for up to six guests.
Gold – A Journey through Spain
Includes wines from the key Spanish regions: Cava, Sherry, Priorat, Verdejo and Rias Baixas, as well as the only Spanish white to gain 100 points by leading US wine critic Robert Parker – 1986 Rioja Blanco, Castillo Ygay.
Cost: £750 for up to six guests.
Gold – The Icons of Italy
A showcase of some of the greatest wines from the regions Piedmont, Veneto and Tuscany including Barolo, Amarone, Chianti, Brunello and Bolgheri. A special inclusion goes to one of the greatest superTuscan wines ever made – 1997 Solaia, Antinori.
Cost: £750 for up to six guests.
A fine pick of some of the most iconic wines of the world including Château Pichon Longueville Comtesse de Lalande from renowned Bordeaux winery; Penfold’s Grange, arguably Australia’s most celebrated wine; and Vin de Constance from South Africa.
Costs: £1000 for up to six guests.
It’s always advisable to line your stomach before embarking on an epic drinking session, so start your tasting experience with a Michelin –star worthy set lunch in Ormer Mayfair, highlights include: cured mackerel tartare with avocado, elderflower and dill sour cream; salt baked sea bass with Parma ham, tomato fondue, black olive caramel and artichoke saffron; and textures of strawberries and cream with meringue and basil. The set lunch is available for two-courses at £26.50 or three-courses at £29.50.
Whether you are looking to enjoy a literary inspired cocktail in a sophisticated setting or you have a special celebration coming up, a visit to Flemings Mayfair is a must – after all some secrets have a habit of coming out!
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