In 2004, having landed on St John’s Square in Clerkenwell during a real life game of Monopoly, Mark Sainsbury and Michael Benyan opened The Zetter Hotel.
Doubtlessly spurred on by their success, which came about despite failing to buy 4 houses prior to the Hotel’s launch (though they did already own Farringdon’s Moro restaurant), they teamed up with celebrated French chef Bruno Loubet and opened a French Bistro on the Hotel’s ground floor (aptly named Bistro Bruno Loubet).
Having passed GO several times over the ensuing years, Mark and Michael collected £200 so many times that, in April 2011, they added another hotel to their quaintly-cobbled corner of London: the Zetter Townhouse in St. John’s Square.
Of particular interest to Londoners should be the Zetter Townhouse Bar, a cocktail lounge accessed through a discreet entrance on St. John’s Square, which has already come to be regarded as one of London’s best cocktail bars.
The cocktail lounge is, as they describe it, “a sumptuous and intriguing place. Packed with curios and oddities, it is a den of lived in luxury – an ideal hideout for an afternoon of lazy reading, a relaxed working lunch or an evening or riotous revelry”.
Couldn’t agree more.
Drinks are taken care of by the inimitable duo of Matt Whiley (of Scout fame) and Rich Woods (aka The Cocktail Guy). Together, they’ve tinkered away in the bar’s adjoining laboratory to create a “Cures & Curiosities” themed menu, with drinks like the Epiphany (yarrow, British pastis, clarified banana, hopped tarragon cordial and tonic); the Eternal Martini (with quartz stone-washed gin, strawberry vermouth and almond flower); and the Elixir of Truth (with gin, cotton lavender, aromatised wine and, er, catnip). It’s also a brilliantly eccentric place for afternoon tea in London, with the option to go for teapot-tails over the usual Earl Grey.
There are also two private rooms and a games room available for hire at the Zetter Townhouse.
If you play your cards right.
NOTE: The Zetter Townhouse bar is open Tuesday to Sunday (closing 6pm Sun). You can just swing by, or book online HERE.
The Zetter Townhouse | 49 St. John’s Square, The City, London EC1 4JJ
Looking for the most unusual bars in the city? Check out our guide to quirky London bars