Elegant, poised and fitting perfectly in a quirky hotel like the Sanderson, the Purple Bar
offers anyone that enters a strange yet sublime feeling. Simultaneously inspiring raised eyebrows and huge smiles, by the time you leave, the bar's serenity, allure and cheeky character has won you over.
The Sanderson Hotel is far from your run-of-the-mill hotel. While some would see it as brilliantly bizarre and full of character, others might label it as a bit outdated and stuck in the year 2002. It all depends on how you feel about giant lip-shaped sofas, oil paintings of dogs and images of giant eyes placed on the spine of every chair in the lobby.
The Purple Bar is modest in size and is placed to the side of the hotel's reception. As soon as you walk in, you're hit by the intended 'wow'. Purple is king here, from the heavy velvet drapes to the miniature Queen Anne-style chairs. Most notable of all, various candelabras and tealights are the only source of light in the room, framing everything in a shimmering haze. Amongst this, clear as day and acting as the light at the end of a shallow tunnel, the bar bursts with vibrant light, reflecting off what seems to be a thousand surfaces. After you sit down and gather yourself, the charm begins to work. Everything is over the top, but you soon begin sinking into it, relaxing and suddenly noticing the fine details - the chesterfield sofa-lined ceilings, the embroidered seats, the vintage music - that bring a slow smile to your face.
You'll be hit by an instant feeling of sophistication and elegance at the Purple Bar.
Atmosphere & Clientele
Oozing such regal elegance, everything about this bar is glamourous. In fact, I'll be surprised to find a spot in London with as much decadence per square meter. But wonderfully, the purple bar is never over-imposing or over-bearing. The classic songs purposely played overhead keep everyone cheerful while the suave elegance works with the chilly air to create a weightlessness around the room. Being a hotel bar, it won't surprise you that most of the venue's guests are residents. Though in the early evenings, you'll find the occasional Oxford street shopper regrouping over a strong whiskey, the bar kicks into life after 11 PM, when the hotel's guests arrive in search of four one last drink before bed.
The team behind the bar pay an impressive amount of attention to the fine details of every drink.
Food and drink
As you'd expect, the sophistication of the bar run down the spine of its menus. With both signature cocktails and an array of vintage concoctions to choose from - all priced at £14 - the expert mixologists are able to suggest a few tipples depending on your preference. The Sting is a great place to start, composed of Hennessy Cognac, infused with fresh mint, crème de figue and whiskey bitters. With a mint leaf skewered by a tooth pick and balanced on top of the glass, each time you take a sip, the smell of the mint enhances the taste of the cocktail. Likewise, the SDN #1 cocktail uses a similar trick, hovering dried lavender in a hollow ball of ice over a mixture of Sipsmith gin, Barolo Chinato, lemon and pine tree syrup. Both are stunning, both cleverly use fresh smells to enhance the taste of the cocktail.
To help ease things along, and like every great cocktail den, a selection of small plates are available for you to try. Though the haddock arancini is also amazing, the crumbed shin of beef and crispy chilli squid are two dishes you must try. Served with a smooth pea mayonnaise that perfectly balances the salted meat, the beef melts away as soon as it hits the side of your mouth, leaving a great after-taste that thankfully lingers. Likewise, the texture is what makes the squid so amazing. Piping hot and coated in a chilli-infused batter, the chef pour a last minute dollop of sweet 'n' sour sauce over each piece, enhancing the flavours and adding a softness that contrasts wonderfully with the crunch of the batter. Crucially, the common denominator linking both the food and the brilliant cocktails is the fine attention to detail. Reaching for another bite or sip, you get the feeling that a lot of time has gone into delicately perfecting every spoonful. And trust us, that's a great feeling.
Each dish and cocktail that's served has been carefully planned and thought out.
There's no denying it, the Purple Bar only deals in decadent experiences. Everything is covered in expensive material, from the leather clad furniture to the draping velvet curtains, and the small plates and delicious cocktails presented in front you are produced to the highest standard with an alarming amount of detail. It's almost impossible to leave feeling disappointed by this Fitzrovia den. Instead, expect a cheeky grin and a frivolous spring in your step.