Why shouldn’t you leave it too long between visits to chic French cocktail bar Baranis?
Because absinthe makes the heart grow fonder…
Snugly ensconced in a Chancery Lane basement lies Baranis, a bar where herbal cocktails are sipped, petanque is played, and one’s vivre is imbued with perpetual joie. It’s the sibling establishment to Cigalon, the adjoining fine dining restaurant, and whilst Baranis is equally French, it has a louche atmosphere all of its own.
A word about that petanque court, first – which happens to be the only indoor petanque court in the UK (who’d dream up such a thing? They’d have to have a lot of balls…). If you’ve not played it yet, you’re missing out – and you know where to go to remedy that. It’s a version of boules in which one scores a point by getting one’s ball as close as possible to the cochonnet (which is in fact a small ball, despite the fact that it means, adorably, ‘little pig’). 13 points must be scored to secure a victory – en route to which you’ll be surprised at just how much of a competitive edge has developed to the game that you started playing “for a laugh”.
Whether toasting your victory or bemoaning your defeat, you’ll want one of Baranis’ signature cocktails. Their menu is packed with an array of beguiling Provençal twists on old classics – such as the Lemon Thyme Margarita (the lemon thyme syrup is homemade), and an Old Fashioned made with pastis-infused Buffalo Trace Bourbon. Emboldened by one or two of these, you might want to explore some unique Provençal and Corsican liqueurs (the fabulous array of lesser-spotted digestifs available includes Génépi, Farigoule, and Cédrat Mavela).
Your tour of the region will continue if you choose to explore Baranis’ excellent – and idiosyncratically arranged – wine list, which divides its offerings into ‘South of France’ and ‘Rest of France’. And why not.
There’s a food offering too – not quite the haute cuisine of Cigalon, but very serviceable. If you get a little snackish, the bar menu will see you through, with charcuterie, cheeses, and even a few pizza options.
The atmosphere is Riviera-relaxed, and the booths which are built into the cellar’s arches are the perfect place to retreat from the cares of the world for a relaxed cocktail with a friend, partner – or, obviously, for the truly authentic experience, your secret lover.
NOTE: Baranis is open Tuesday to Saturday. You can secure a spot right here.
Baranis | 115 Chancery Lane, WC2A 1PP
Looking for somewhere to eat nearby? Have a browse through the best restaurants in Holborn…