Belgraves’ Library Bar, Belgravia
Sitting on the corner of Belgravia Square, Belgraves fits in nicely with the understated elegance of the area. Hotels are often an intimidating date, however the glass exterior makes this venue accessible and welcoming. From the street, you can see through to the recently opened restaurant, Pont St., and the tantalising Belgraves‘ Library Bar above.
Appropriately named, an eclectic and thoughtful range of books line the walls of the bar. Although part of the hotel, it is pleasantly detached. Once through the impressive doors, stairs lead you straight into the bar area, so no awkward passing through lobbies or reception desks. On a Tuesday there is a relaxed buzz; couples chat and nibble from coupe glasses full of savoury popcorn, intimate dates enjoy a cocktail before dinner and corporate groups smoke on the attractive terrace.
Designed by Pont St.’s Executive Chef, Sophie Michell, the bar snacks are both exciting and substantial. The lobster rolls are a must: three mini buttery brioche buns harbour generous chunks of flavoursome lobster in a light mayonnaise. A small fight will most certainly break out over the third roll, but never fear, there is more. An Artichoke and Caramelised Shallot Pizza, with wild mushrooms and fresh, creamy burrata cheese, comes sliced and elegantly presented upon a wooden board. The attention to detail in every dish is incredibly satisfying and justifies the price-tag – hand cut fries are served with shards of parmesan and truffle oil. If the bar snacks are anything to go by, Pont St. promises a lot.
Meet at Sloane Square Station and walk down the quiet lanes together, arm-in-arm, towards Belgravia. If feeling a little nervous, and finding the terraced housing and boutique shops somewhat overwhelming, stop off first for some Dutch courage at The Palm. The clock determines what you pay, so the earlier you get there the cheaper the cocktail (arrive between 5-6 and the classics are £5 etc.).
Once seated on a comfortable sofa in the Library Bar, inform your server of your favourite tipple and allow them to expertly guide you through the extensive cocktail list (priced between £13-17). The light and refreshing ‘English Summer Rain’ (Hendrick’s gin, lemon juice, apple juice, St Germain, egg white, black pepper and cucumber) is a show stopper. If an agonising moment of silence follows the wait for cocktail confidence, grab the nearest book: ‘Have you read this?’ – an intellectual and rewarding conversation immediately ensues.
After a few indulgent snacks (and a lot of indulgent cocktails), segue to the terrace for a final round. Reminiscent of a summer house, with climbing ivy and a retractable glass roof showing the night sky above, get close on the cushioned seating, playfully rest your hand on their knee and lean in for the kiss.
Belgraves is in a quiet, residential area, so not much around. Mind you, once seated at the Library Bar you won’t want to be going anywhere else.
4. Luxurious and stylish romancing; after a few cocktails, you’ll be wishing you booked a room.