Jason Allen 18/04/23
Spey Bar | Regal Whisky Bar In An Old Magistrates Court
Spey Bar isn’t exactly hidden.
But it’s one of those unless-you-know-about-it places that you would never just stumble across, with a collection of whiskies so vast and cocktails so delicious that you do run the very real risk of stumbling on your way out.
You’ll find it tucked away inside the Brown’s in Covent Garden. The classic brasserie has recently given itself a 50th birthday facelift, and Spey is the cherry on top. (Not that facelifts have cherries, but you get it.) And in order to make sure it’s done properly, they’ve enlisted the help of the talented malt-slingers behind the Quaich Bar in Scotland’s legendary Craigellachie Hotel. And that place opened in 1703 so, to them, Brown’s is just a wee nipper.
But nipper or not, the place exudes a sense of grandeur and old-school charm right from the outset. You’ll walk inside and find yourself being guided up a grand staircase, through a smaller bar area, and into a former magistrates court room which has been converted into a veritable palace of whisky. The high ceiling is studded by regal chandeliers, the vintage parquet floor is draped in intricately patterned rugs, and the stately mahogany court podium has become a perch for the DJ, who furnishes the place with a moody atmosphere of jazz & soul.
Behind the imposing, polished bar is a collection of over 100 whiskies, spanning all manner of ages and price points. And they’re being poured into wonderfully well-tailored cocktails like the Stratton (along with vanilla & milk punch), the Butler (partnered up with pear brandy & bee pollen), and the luminous Rabbit C Highball, which somehow involves gin and WKD Blue. If you’re not a huge whisky fan or don’t know what to get, just ask for the off-menu Apple Dog for which they’ll juice an entire Granny Smith and mix it with a Speyside blended malt – it’s dangerously easy-going.
There are a few bar bites too, which feel just as classically Scottish as the drinks, spanning the likes of Coln Valley Smoked Salmon on toast with creme fraiche; fist-sized haggis Scotch eggs; crispy Cullen Skink croquettes; and pan-seared scallops with black pudding, samphire, and celeriac puree. And juuust in case you didn’t think the place was quite Scottish enough, you can also get perhaps the most emblematically iconic of the northern nation’s delicacies…
NOTE: Spey Bar is open now in Brown’s Covent Garden, Mon-Sun. You can find out more, and book a table at the website right here.
Spey Bar | 82-84 St. Martins Lane, WC2N 4AG
Like the brown stuff? You would’t be all the way down here if you didn’t. So here are London’s best whisky bars.
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82-84 St. Martins Lane, Covent Garden, WC2N 4AG
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020 7497 5050
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