Good artists copy, great artists steal
– Pablo Picasso
Picasso stole that quote.
And messers Steve Pineau (cocktail guy) and Xavier Rousset (wine guy) being great artists of alcohol, have stolen the name of their latest cocktail spot. Nocturne was originally a bar in Bristol – owned by the band Massive Attack, no less – that they used to frequent, and were thusly inspired by. But the name is where it ends. Everything else, from the atmosphere, to the interiors, to the menu, is completely original.
You’ll find it housed underneath their wine & cheese shop in South Kensington, Old Brompton. And it’s something of a stunner. It was actually designed by the owners themselves, and they’ve thrown the moody, ’20s kitchen sink at it: low lighting, cocktail cabinets, drinks trolleys, studded leather furnishings, and a centrepiece piano if you fancy tinkling the ivories. They’ve even left the original bread ovens recessed into the walls, making them look like little fireplaces.
The drinks have a similarly throwback vibe, with a menu that spans vintage, pre-prohibition, and prohibition sections, so don’t expect any liquid nitrogen. Cocktails are all named with a time and a place, and given ingredients appropriate to the era. A few choice numbers include:
- Isle of Man 1860s – Aperol, Amaro blend, Cinzano Bianco, tomato juice, celery bitters, peach bitters
- Nocturne 1900s – Japanese dry gin, dry sake, Earl Grey liquor, lavender syrup, grapefruit juice, plum bitters & sage bitters
- Cambridge 1925s – Mezcal, tequila, lime juice, orange tea cordial, rose syrup & watermelon electric bitters
This being a Xavier Rousset venue, there’s also a whole lot of very good wine, and over 70 different cheeses and charcuterie to pair with them. And the kicker? There’s also a bookable private blackjack & poker room. And it’s all open until 3am.
NOTE: Nocturne is open now. You can find out more on their website right HERE.
Nocturne | 158 Old Brompton Road, SW5 0BA
Looking for a decent restaurant while you’re there? Here are the best in the neighbourhood…
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