The Rivoli Bar can be a little hard to track down.
It’s not, surprisingly, tucked behind a clearly marked, Rivoli-ving door.
Instead, it’s a decadent cocktail lounge hidden deep within The Ritz – and, fittingly, it must be one of the most jaw-droppingly opulent bars in the capital, with gold-leaf, scalloped domes in the ceiling, Lalique glass panels set into the glossy camphor wood walls, an original Tamara de Lempicka painting, and dramatic beaten copper reliefs harking back to the golden age of Art Deco.
The drinks, of course, are served with no less panache, and take their inspiration from classic English luminaries, many of whom were guests of the hotel over the past century. There’s the Churchill’s Courage, which, through the medium of bourbon, maple syrup and white port, aims to encapsulate ‘Churchill’s unquestionable leadership and partnership with America’, while the To Be Or Not To Be evokes ‘Shakespeare’s infamous question’ with vodka, peach bitters, and yuzu clarification – which looks strikingly like a martini, but evidently decided not to be at the last minute.
Still more arrive under smoking bell jars; others are topped with whisky foam in an homage to the resident hotel pianist; while the True Gentleman is served in a miniature top hat, complete with a dinky glass cane. Find that your pockets are twice as deep, and you can plump for a drink on the ‘Vintage’ section of the menu, using rare old spirits and liqueurs.
At these prices, it’s unlikely you’ll spend all night here and end up rollicking around the aforementioned piano as Noel Coward would have done, but there is no place better in London for an indulgent apéritif or nightcap on a special occasion…
After all, they don’t call it puttin’ on the Travelodge.
NOTE: The Rivoli Bar is open daily from 11.30am-11.30pm (12-10.30pm Sundays). The dress code is less strict than in other areas of the hotel, but you can’t wear trainers or sportswear. Find out more on their website HERE.
The Rivoli Bar | The Ritz, 150 Piccadilly, W1J 9BR
Like glamorous, art deco-style bars? Check out the Bar Américain at Brasserie Zédel