For 2 years running now, Artesian has taken home the crown of ‘World’s Best Bar’ awarded by Drinks International magazine. A track record like that meant i just had to see what all the fuss was about, so i stopped by for some pre-dinner drinks.
Artesian is housed at the Langham Hotel on Portland Place (very close to Oxford Circus) & inside, its design, style & vibe are all fab. The lounge bar occupies a chic space with a very nice balance of subtle grandeur and cosiness.
I’ll admit i was a tad apprehensive beforehand, expecting the atmosphere might be somewhat flat & stuffy, akin to several other swanky hotel bars in town – in fact i was pleasantly surprised. Upon arriving, with no table seats available we were kindly asked to perch at the bar until a space opened up. To my surprise (given the place was packed), our wait for a table was less than 10 mins in the end – people seem to come & go pretty regularly (perhaps because the drinks bill will cost you an arm & a leg if you stick around for too long!).
A chirpy bartender greeted us promptly, pouring us glasses of chilled water & making us feeling instantly welcomed with his charming character. We went on to chat about the cocktail menu with him and it was quickly evident (and refreshing to see) how much pride he takes in his job, not to mention his 1st class knowledge of the menu. Overall, a nice start to our night.
A talented pair (Alex Kratena & Simone Caporale) run the show behind the bar with their cutting edge cocktail menu oozing originality, as well as changing yearly. At £17 a pop, the concoctions are far from cheap, which is exactly why you’d better be in the mood for a night of luxury before rocking up for drinks at Artesian.
There’s no doubt this bar produces skilfully crafted drinks – even their ice is special – made using the latest technology to create ice which is purer, colder and with a higher density, making it last longer & giving you cooler cocktails.
So what else do i like about this bar?
* Even with the glamorous setting, you don’t need to glam yourself up to visit Artesian (unless you want to, of course) – smart casual is fine, although no shorts are allowed after 7pm.
* I like the funky music playing in the background (importantly, it’s not too loud that you can’t hold a decent conversation), creating a buzzy vibe & initiating a lively atmosphere on this Saturday night.
* Staff were attentive & hospitable throughout – not arrogant at all as one might expect from a hotel bar of this calibre – and our complimentary bar snacks were kept topped up without delay.
As far as the crowd goes, it was a good mix – ranging from hotel residents enjoying a relaxed bite to eat, couples out for a pre-dinner tipple, groups of friends & some client entertainment.
Dips Sips: Despite the extortionate price tag which comes with it, Artesian offers a perfect combination of lavish decor, flawless service & outstanding drinks conjured up by talented mixologists. Check it out when you’re in the mood for treating yourself (or someone else) & enjoy soaking in the buzzy yet, crucially, relaxed atmosphere with a couple of unique cocktails. Is this the world’s best bar? I couldn’t possible answer that – but it’s certainly a world class bar.http://www.artesian-bar.co.uk The Langham Hotel, 1c Portland Place, Regent Street, W1B 1JA