Does the ‘world’s best bar’ live up to the hype?
Artesian Bar, nestled in the heart of Marylebone, has become a beacon for innovation in the world of mixology. Located within The Langham London, one of the city’s most marvellous hotels, Artesian Bar has garnered a reputation that reaches far beyond its desirable postcode. Ranked as the number one bar by The World’s 50 Best Bars from 2012 to 2015, Artesian offers a beguiling blend of timeless elegance and contemporary luxury, and that’s just the décor.
This drinking den just off the hotel lobby is thrumming with life when we pop in for an early evening tipple. We’re greeted with courteous service backed with enthusiasm and an infectious knowledge of the beverage list. Artesian Bar is generously sized for a London cocktail bar. Rather than being confined to an underground basement as is the trend de jour, this boasts lofty ceilings, beautiful bay windows, period coving and statement chandeliers.
Led by head bartender Giulia Cuccurullo, Artesian Bar’s latest offering, aptly named “Ingredients of the Future,” showcases its commitment to creativity and future-proofing. The cocktail menu is anchored around 16 signature beverages, each carefully constructed around a singular ingredient.
Expect colourful concoctions based on kombu (seaweed), nopales (cactus), pandan leaves and sweet potato, where each beverage plays with the flavour profiles and subtle nuances of each ingredient. The Soil cocktail (£23) is a twist on a dry martini, containing Haku vodka, sake, and soil scent, while Mushrooms (£24) combines Woodford rye, Grand Marnier Cuvee, Louis Alexandre, mushrooms and maple for a rich flavour and smooth finish.
While peas, jackfruit and beetroot may be more palatable, we would recommend Insects (£25). This celebration of a classic Whiskey Sour promotes dry and smokey tones and is made from a masterful mixture of Michter’s Bourbon, Campari, Nixta, crickets, Chicatanas corn, coffee and lime. For those feeling less adventurous, a pleasing list of beers, wines and spirits is also available.
Away from the sips and colourful concoctions, Artesian Bar has teamed up with Angelo Sato of Humble Chicken in Soho to create a poultry-forward menu of blissful bar bites. The Scotch Egg Katsu Curry (£11) proved a popular choice, but it’s the fluffy Peking Duck Bao Sliders (£14) and crisp Buttermilk Chicken Karaage (£15) that require multiple orders.
Artesian takes its name from an ancient well located 360 feet beneath the hotel’s foundations. Now a relic, the bar pays homage to this long-forgotten water source that once provided the hotel with the purest water in London.
A line inside the Artesian Bar menu describes that venue as a place “where every sip tastes like a step towards a healthier planet and a better tomorrow.” And with each cocktail telling its own unique story, we’re inclined to agree.
GO: Visit www.artesian-bar.co.uk for reservations and more information.