Milroy’s of Soho, Soho
I love buying whisky from Milroy’s of Soho; the staff are incredibly knowledgeable and for over half a century they have been encouraging loyal patrons to have a wee dram before heading out into the night. I was very excited to read that a cocktail bar was opening in the basement, headed up by Simo, from Coal Vaults. The door is concealed by a false bookshelf (I know, I know) but it’s actually rather beautiful, and downstairs the atmosphere is warm and unpretentious. It’s comfortable leather sofas, hardwood tables, great music and flattering candlelight. There are pleasing little touches everywhere, like the menus which are handmade, with drinks lists enclosed inside old Ladybird hardbacks. There is even a friendly Jack Russell, adorable.
The cocktails are stiff, experimental, and delicious and if Simo is there he will happily talk you through the list. My favourite was the Unagi (cue obligatory Friends reference), with Vodka, Jasmine, Umeshu and Peach Bitters. Food is simple but kind of exactly what you feel like, platters of salami and pecorino, mixed nuts and olives.
I’m loathe to say anything else nice about this place as selfishly I want to keep it all to myself. It’s a fantastic address to have up your sleeve and an ideal spot for a first date. Even on a Friday night we didn’t feel rushed to give up our seats at the bar, it’s relaxed and friendly and once you are there you will want to stay put. This would also be a great place to go after dinner for a quick sharpener.
Hmm tempted to make something up, but no – The Vault at Milroy’s of Soho gets full marks in my book.