Tucked away down a side road just off Oxford Street, Punch Room is a bright, undiscovered gem. However, as this central bar starts to make some noise (literally) with their new series of live performances from up-and-coming artists, this may all be about to change. Boasting divine punches, a moreish menu of bar food and a snug interior complete with wood-burning fire, could this reservation-only bar be one of the capital's best kept secrets? I visited one gloomy Sunday to catch an exclusive gig, and find out just that.
This intimate bar can be found nestled at the very back of the swanky London EDITION hotel. Decked out in oak panelled walls, low candlelit tables and comfy armchairs it feels every bit like a '60s private member's club, but have no fear the bar is open to anyone as long as they make a reservation. The staff are careful to keep bookings to a maximum of six people, which helps to keep a comfortable atmosphere for all guests.
Food & Drink
As the name implies, the bar specialises in serving up a dizzying array of different punches, all created with high-end spirits, fresh ingredients and a dash of magic. Upon arrival, we were given two samples of the Daily Punch, to provide us with a taste of things to come. Packed full of flavour, the concoction of lemon, whiskey, rum, absinthe and green tea was the perfect way to start the evening. After a brief perusal of the menu, we settled on the EDITION punch (£14), a classic that is on their menu all year round. This easy drinking, fragrant punch – which theatrically arrives in a gleaming punch bowl – is both subtle and delicious. For our next drinks we hazarded the Punch a la Romaine which is the very drink the passengers of the ill-fated liner drank during their last meal. Thankfully the creamy creation lived up to its outstanding reputation. Our final pick-me-up was the Milk Punch, a satisfying - if bizarre - blend of rum, brandy, cognac, citrus juice and milk.
Food wise, the Punch Room provides bite-sized nibbles ranging from sliders to salads. My guest and I were rather peckish, so we were delighted to be treated to two portions of the sesame coated popcorn chicken smothered in a spicy bbq-style gochujang sauce (£8), along with a crispy chicken skin guacamole dip (£6), chorizo croquettes (£7), citrus salted sugar snap peas (£3.50) and moreish triple cooked chips (£5).
Atmosphere & Performance
The cosy feel of this small bar makes it the perfect place to indulge and wind down, which is why their live music series – RAW PUNCH – is such an outstanding idea. With the flicker of candle light and the clink of glasses the first act of the evening take to the stage. This carefully chosen duo, AS//IS fill the small room with their atmospheric sound, smashing the outdated notion that hotel bars are the sole haunt of rich bankers and aristocrats. The bar's mixed clientele also stems from their Oxford Street location, with everyone from business men to fashionistas stopping by to sip fruity punches and chat.
What really stands out at the Punch Room is the personal touch, and the lack of pretension. Staff are more than happy to sit down and take you through the menu, making expert recommendations. There is a passion for hosting people here which ensures all their patrons have a good time. Effortless, accessible and with all the cool of a Mayfair members club; this bar could quickly become an iconic establishment in London.