Scales Cocktail Bar in London: A Secret Haven for Cocktail Enthusiasts 

Here at YCB, we’re suckers for a speakeasy bar. The hushed conversations, dimmed lights, and intimate atmosphere; it’s hard to think of a better setting for a romantic date night. There’s also the added enticement of being a true insider, someone whose local knowledge extends beyond the spots that others flock to. However, these days, there seems to be just one issue at hand. That is, of course, that we’re not the only ones enticed by the exclusive allure of these underground, password-protected establishments. As a result, the traditional, sleek industry of speakeasy bars has been inundated with boozers using secret entries as a contradictory marketing tool. How to know which are those that value glamour over gimmick? Fear not. We have done the investigative work required to source the setting for your next, idyllic date night. Introducing Scales Cocktail Bar, London’s hidden gem offering seasonal fresh cocktails in an elite, elegant environment- with a reasonable price tag, too. 

Take a sharp right off of Oxford Street, escape the hustle and bustle of eager Selfridges shoppers, and make your way towards Mayfair. As the street becomes progressively hushed, you’ll stumble across an eye-catching window display of interesting wines and premium spirits. The sign will read ‘Drink With Sasha’, and this deluxe bottle boutique is the entry point to London’s most recent best kept secret.

Once you get the go-ahead to pass through the jet-black doorway and down the narrow staircase, you’ll emerge into an intimate yet generous space, with an upscale yet friendly atmosphere. Scales Cocktail Bar is adorned with the glow of candlelight, floor-to-ceiling shelves of premium spirits, and the sleek aesthetic of record players and velvet curtains. Needless to say, the first impression is a lasting one.

We’d recommend securing a seat at the bar: Watching the head-mixologists and owners, Din Jusufi and Engji Shala, concoct your recipe of choice is a spectacle in itself. Not only this, but their genuine enthusiasm for the craft of cocktail-making is infectious. Spark up a conversation and you can receive an insight into the inspiration behind the creation you’re about to sip on, as well as the ingredients involved in the process and a personalised recommendation for your next order.

Engji Shala says: “Our ethos revolves around balance, precision and consistency. Each drink follows a pattern of seasonality using fresh produce, expertly extracted into the cocktails. We started the bar in the hopes of bridging the gap of understanding between the consumer and the modern-day crafts of cocktails.” 

The menu can only be described as a refined breath of fresh air- you won’t find a strawberry daiquiri on this one, that’s for sure. The range of drinks on offer is based on what ingredients are at their pinnacle during that particular time of year. Therefore, the list is refreshed from season to season. For example, we were warned that as we approach spring, the deliciously milky, rum-based gingerbread recipe will soon be replaced with one that involves fresh beetroot, an ingredient that particularly thrives from March to May. 

Impressed yet? What if we told you that in the back bar, concealed by a heavy curtain, is their very own laboratory? This in-house lab is fully equipped with tools such as a centrifuge (a machine used to separate liquids) to convert all of the produce into a delicious refreshment, an effort to make what is often a very wasteful industry, more sustainable. What’s more, each drink is carefully curated, weighed and served on scales, hence the name of the establishment. This process is done to ensure the consistency of the high-quality, finished product. Sure enough, the attention to detail is second to none, down to the directional freezing of the ice, to ensure your drink is kept chilled, not diluted. Yet still, we’re happy to confirm that this is not reflected in the pleasantly affordable price list.

To conclude, Scales Cocktail Bar is the epitome of what one looks for in a speakeasy. It offers an undeniable air of exclusivity without the entitlement, combined with some of the highest-quality cocktails London has to offer. Whether it’s the title of a suave tour guide to visitors, a second date with your love interest, or a special evening for two- secure it with a booking at Scales Cocktail Bar.

Scales is open to customers Tuesday-Saturday evenings. 25 Duke St, London 

Josie Wilkins

Josie is a Journalism graduate from Galway, Ireland. In her free time, she writes for her blog, Naturally Fuelled (@josiewilkins on instagram). When she isn't writing, she enjoys playing the one song she knows on the piano, 'I Giorni', saving the postman from her aggressive Shorkie, and defending brussels sprouts as an all-year-round snack!