The Library Bar, A Tranquil Haven of Liquid History

Exuding all that is elegant and timeless in British style, the Library Bar is the perfect place to unwind with a drink after the hustle and bustle of West London.

Though just a few metres from one of the many subways of Hyde Park Corner, the Library Bar at the Lanesborough feels thousands of miles away from the chaos of the busy traffic hub.

The Library Bar at the LanesboroughDesigned in the classic style of Britain’s Regency era, the Library Bar hearkens back to the days of smoking jackets and after-dinner brandies. The rosewood and mahogany furniture, heirloom paintings, floor-to-ceiling bookcases filled with beautiful, leather-bound editions, wingback leather armchairs and velvet-flocked settees create an atmosphere that is sumptuous and luxurious without ostentation.

A live pianist plays from half six until close, Monday through Saturday, and his repertoire includes classic standards like “Fly Me to the Moon”, which fits perfectly with the refined atmosphere. Like everything else in the Library Bar, service is superb, gracious, discreet and up to an impressively rare standard.

The Library Bar prides itself on serving a bit of “liquid history”, and offer historical vintages, an extensive selection of Champagnes, as well as some of the finest and rarest Cognacs in the world. The cocktail menu is arranged by era and showcases the bar’s contributions to the world of mixology, including the signature drinks we had the pleasure of sampling.

The Library bar at the LanesboroughThe first cocktail we tasted was the Red Earl, created by the Cocktail Maestro and former Library Bar manager Salvatore Calabrese, who has recently returned to the hotel in a consulting capacity. Made with vodka, fresh ginger, raspberries and limoncello and served in a martini glass, the Red Earl is a unique drink, and perfect for those searching for something more adventurous than yet-another flavoured martini.

Next, we tried the Space Race, a cocktail invented and perfected by the master mixologist Antonio Dandrea. A dangerously delicious libation of rose vodka, lychee liqueur, cointreau and cranberry and guava juices, it was easy to see why the Space Race wins international cocktail competitions. The fruit and floral notes of this cocktail give it a wonderful lightness and it tastes fresh rather than sugary or overly-sweet.

We rounded out our evening with the Godfrey, a warming, earthy cocktail with a fresh finish and the perfect choice for a relaxing evening tipple. A mix of cognac, Grand Marnier, crème de mûre, fresh lemon juice and black berries, the Godfrey is a wonderful medley of ingredients and the tartness of lemon and berries contrasts nicely with the sweetness of cognac.

Though an especially lovely spot during the Christmas season, the Library Bar welcomes guests all year-round; no reservations necessary.

For more information visit The Library Bar or The Lanesborough.

Natalie Rose

Natalie Rose lives and writes in London. She has an MA and BA in film and literature and a keen interest in travel, culture and fine things.