Rumour has it that we have a particularly snowy and cold winter heading our way this year. While that might strike fear into the hearts of most Londoners, we, on the other hand, are more than ready for the chill.
At The Montague on the Gardens in Bloomsbury, we’re host to a perfectly festive winter lounge: the alpine-themed Montague Ski Lodge. The bar and party venue recreates the ambiance of après-ski, and perfectly captures that winter wonderland atmosphere after a long day spent on the slopes. Decorated with pine trees, reindeer, snowmen, ski racks, fairy lights, and falling snow, the bar also serves a number of warming seasonal drinks. Try classics like the winter Pimm’s, spiced cider, hot chocolate, and mulled wine, alongside gorgeously indulgent cheese fondue.
In addition to the Montague Ski Lodge, visitors to the city also have a wealth of options to choose from when selecting a cosy and wintery place to curl up in. Whether you’re after a traditional pub with a roaring fireplace or an expertly made hot toddy, we’ve selected a few of the best London bars for a winter warming session.
For winter-inspired mixology:
Since opening in 2010, Purl in Marylebone has been quietly revolutionising London’s cocktail scene. Its imaginative drinks – cocktails have been served in cigar boxes alongside edible “stogies”, while some make use of frothing liquid nitrogen – push the envelope in terms of invention. A menu of wintertime drinks will have visitors cosying up, while the dimly lit basement space, filled with individual niches and nooks, is the perfect place to recover from the icy wind.
For a traditional pub, complete with roaring fireplace:
The Star Tavern in Belgravia has a long and compelling history – rumour has it that its upstairs room was where the plotters of the Great Train Robbery of 1963 first formulated their plans. These days, the gorgeous pub – outfitted with chandeliers, plush velvet curtains, and the obligatory fireplace – makes for an elegant and comfortable winter retreat.
For a cosy restaurant bar:
The newly opened Gymkhana in Mayfair, helmed by award-winning chef Karam Sethi (also of Michelin star restaurant Trishna), turns out accomplished, fine dining Indian fare. Its spice-laden dishes are sure to warm you up from the inside out, while its downstairs bar space is one of the cosiest we know of. Settle into a love booth and order the Bombay Presidency punch – made from a blend of Ceylon Arrack, palm sugar, lime juice, and Darjeeling tea, it’s served with a whole nutmeg and grater so customers can spice it themselves.
For a snug whisky lounge:
Is there any better way to warm up than with a snifter of whisky? Aside from a steaming hot toddy, we can’t say there’s much competition. Happily, the Scottish restaurant Boisdale in Belgravia caters to patrons attempting to stave off the winter chill with its generous array of single malts and blends, which can be enjoyed hot or cold.