Iris is the kind of bar that immediately puts a sense of occasion into you. Located in the 40th floor dome of The Gherkin, guests at this former private members area will find themselves eye-to-eye with the city’s skyscrapers as they quaff down glasses of the house fizz. This is how we kicked off our experience anyway - staring into the back of The Cheesegrater with a chilled flute of G.H. Mumm Cordon Rouge (£13 per glass).
Through the domed windows you can see all of the city from up here, a statement that applies to the cocktails too. Inspired by areas across the capital, you’ve got the chance to sip on all manner of London locales, from Kew Garden to Whitechapel and Ladywell to Kensington Gardens.
With an ingredients list that reads like the various causes of your Boxing Day hangover I’d be hard-pressed not to opt for the Million Dollar Bill (£16) - Iris’ drinkable interpretation of Canary Wharf. Armagnac, cocoa nibs, caramel, port and whiskey serve to represent the city’s financial heart, and it proves an effective comparison. Rich, indulgent and a little bit of a show-off, a brandy glass filled with ice, orange peel and pungent smoke arrives, the cocktail mix is then ceremoniously poured out from a small stoppered decanter and the glass covered to let it infuse. It’s one to brag about by the coffee machine, that’s for sure. On the more low key, but no less indulgent side, is the Queen Mary’s Garden (£13). An homage to Regent’s Park, this quirky little drink finds Hendrick’s, rose and pistachio liqueurs, lemon juice and sugar shaken into a verdant green cocktail that tastes as sweet and fresh as a spring picnic.
While the bar doesn’t serve dinner - for that you’ll have to head to 39th floor sister restaurant, Helix - it does boast a tempting selection of goodies to sate your hunger. From a Cured Meats Selection (£30 for 2-4 people) to a plate of basketball-orange smoked salmon dressed with capers and cucumber rolls (£8), and classic bread and butter (£2.50), if you do get peckish, or your pal drinks in a little too much of London, you’re all set for snacks and stomach-liners at Iris.
The DesignMyNight Digest
Offering a unique new perspective on the city, Iris Bar By Searcys is an absolute must-visit for anyone looking to see London in all its majesty. With innovative cocktails bringing a taste of London's various enclaves, and delicious bar snacks ideal for sharing, it's the perfect place for a special occasion, or, failing the instance of that, a brilliant way to treat yourself.
Iris Bar By Searcys is now open everyday from 12pm - 10.30pm on the 40th floor of The Gherkin, 30 St Mary Axe, EC3A 8EP.