Avenue, St James’s
New York meets East London, in St James’s. It’s an ambitious concept, but one that Avenue actually pulls off rather impressively. The sleek bar offers a subtle nod to ‘20s America, with craft beers and classic cocktails doffing their cap to Prohibition era recipes. Suave lampshades and an eclectic range of modern art create the appearance of a stylish Manhattan apartment, whilst the central feature – an illuminated chandelier, crafted ingeniously out of wineglasses – provides the glamour. Every Thursday, Avenue ups the ante with SOUNDBite; showcasing a different DJ each week, the restaurant takes on a disco vibe with drinks and a late-night dining experience.
Set amongst the cigar shops and shirt tailors within a stone’s throw from Pall Mall, this decadent venue is ideal for after work cocktails, light bites and low lighting, or a full evening of dining from the ex Head Chef of Bar Boulud.
A nice way to play this one is to sit either at the bar or the comfy yet sexy seating at the front of the space, and order cocktails and sliders. Negroni lovers on their first foray outside of East London will be comforted by the “Boulevardier” from the “New York New York” list (Buffalo Trace Bourbon stirred with Italian sweet Vermouth and Campari), whilst the “London Calling” choice will satisfy those after fresh, sweeter flavours. Bloody Mary’s occupy an entire section and go excellently with the Mac n Cheese crisps and Black Angus Hamburgers served in Brioche Buns.
Meet at the bar. They’ll take your coats, you can hear yourself think, and before you know it they’ll be a small plate of nuts by your side. The bustle of the bartenders and their obvious passion can be an excellent ice breaker, so interact with them and ask about the impressive selection of spirits on show. The music and lighting make it entirely acceptable to let loose here and kissing is most definitely on the cards after a second round.
The food offering isn’t as sexy as the rest of this place.
4. There’s only one outcome to this heady mix of glitz and strong drinks/small portions ratio.