Simon Gage: I didn’t realise The Connaught was cool, you know. I’ve always thought of it as one of those hotels for people who’ve come up on a luxury package to see Sheridan Smith in something she can’t be bothered to turn up for. I didn’t realise it was disco dark and sexy. Whatever next? A backroom with slings in Claridge’s?
Stephen Unwin: This place is cartoon gorgeous. And I like the fountain outside. Or is it an ornamental pool? Or an actual pool? And I like how it smells. I wouldn’t mind smelling like this.
wait, aren’t we standing in the interior of Ralph Lauren’s flagship shop in NYC?
Karen Krizanovich: It’s so James Bond… I want to roll in this place. Even before I had a mouth, I wanted to drink at The Connaught Bar. Located at the same-named Connaught Hotel famous since – God, look at the time – 1815. In fact, there are three bars here – The Connaught Bar, Coburg and the fabulously dark and glam champagne bar that no one tells you about ‘til it’s too late. I’m kicking myself methodoise.
SG: Well, we’ve drunk in two of them so far. Do you know which? And have we eaten anything? I feel like we were offered but a couple of these cocktails and I’ll be buggered if I can remember.
KK: Simon, you had croque madame, quail egg & truffle. Jeez. I had salmon tartare & alverta royal caviar, natch. It’s beautifully old skool, isn’t it? Yet scary enough to keep away the touristas. And I have this weird feeling I’ve been here before… wait, aren’t we standing in the interior of Ralph Lauren’s flagship shop in NYC?
SG: Do I look like I’ve been inside Ralph Lauren’s flagship shop in New York? How dare you, madam! I’d throw my drink on you if I was the sort of person to waste good alcohol on grand gestures.
KK: No, it’s Edwardian. And Lauren copied this when he couldn’t buy the actual thing.
SU: To be fair I’d also copy this if I couldn’t buy the actual thing. But hotels pretty much are the international mood board for anyone without an imagination.
KK: The Astor Fizz. The Fountain of Wealth. I am digging just the names of these cocktails… Gentleman Spritz… don’t you say a word!
SG: *pats hair*
SU: By default I hate cocktails. I’d rather have a triple vodka and just swirl a designer-imposter Berocca around in it. But these are actually truly amazing. I’d even take pictures and put them on Instagram, but I don’t have Instagram because I’m not that needy.
SG: Yet under “Looking for” on your Scruff profile it reads, “Validation”.
SU: That’s just the ironic in me.
SG: The what in you?
SU: *pats hair*
KK: Y’all can try the famously personalised Connaught Martini, served from a trolley with custom bitters not just an olive or twist. Try to say “personalised” after three of these. This place serves until 1am and has some of the best bartenders in the world. It says right here.
SG: Anything that involves a trolley has to be good, right?
Stepping into the place is like stepping into a finely crafted version of The Great Gatsby, only without the death and the boats
KK: That’s a noun not a verb. Stepping into the place is like stepping into a finely crafted version of The Great Gatsby, only without the death and the boats.
SG: And without the boredom. Though I sense there are quite a few pointless rich people in here, so it does have that in common with TGG.
KK: Have you noticed how many good-looking men are here? There are… like… some.
SU: I recognise at least three men in this bar. Which is weird, seeing as I don’t tend to recognise anyone west of Regent Street. It’s kind of a rule. To be fair that guy over there’s flat is in Islington.
KK: Our host is Irish, and they make the best… um… hosts. What is the English translation of maitre d’? Master of the D? Does that mean he’s from Dublin? I think I need another sip of this on an empty stomach…
KK: Look, a corridor with a Zen tree behind glass! A horse sculpture! Look, a dark room with champagne SERVED OUT OF BACCARAT! [Sound of squealing rubber] Oooh, they’ve got all my old friends! Laurent, Dom, Ruinart & Jacquesson, by the glass. I may be some time.
SU: The poster-gentleman of hotel bars. Lovely and gorgeous and a whole bunch of other super superlatives.
SG: I love the darkness and the atmosphere and it’s fun… I just don’t see anyone I want to have fun with.
KK: I would go here with a serial killer. I love this place. It is the bar of my dreams. Even the ladies’ room is better than my flat. C
The Connaught, Carlos Pl, London W1K 2AL, United Kingdom
020-7499 7070; the-connaught.co.uk