Sometimes, you just want to be wowed. You want the kind of bar that makes you feel like a real A-lister, with slinky AF decor, incredible views across the city and cocktails that are second to none. And you know what? I think I found just that in King’s Cross, at the top of The Standard Hotel. It's called Sweeties, and I just can’t wait to tell you more about it.
We stepped into the boutique hotel, strolled past the muscle and then were beamed up to the 10th floor (in a trippy-looking elevator that would fit right into a Beatle’s Sgt. Pepper music video). We were taken under the wing of the polite hostess, who showed us to our luxurious seating area. Placed right in front of the towering floor-to-ceiling windows, the burnt orange sofas were the perfect spot to soak up the sights of London from above. As I settled into the slinky settee, I checked out the rest of the decor. This joint was oozing with lavish 70s glamour from every corner, boasting velvet as far as the eye can see, vintage pouffes, lights that looked like dripping ice and a humungous spinning disco ball.
But I’m rattling on now; what I really want to tell you about is the cocktails. Without overexaggerating, these were some of the best darn sips that have ever passed my lips. Alongside a range of classics, Sweeties offers a beautifully curated menu of mixes that use adaptogens and nootropics; ingredients that have mind- and body-boosting properties. But no, they won't stop you from a hangover.
I kicked things off with a Frothy Boi (£18), an intriguing mix of Tanqueray London Dry gin, lacto-rhubarb, bay leaf, pink salt and fermented fluffy oats. Served in a delicate, tulip-shaped tumbler, topped with a thick, frothy head and a glass disc holding a single gel-filled raspberry (which the owner told us he got from his mate Barney in the Cotswolds), this cocktail was totally unique. It was incredibly light on the tongue, yet fragrant, offering a very subtle rhubarb flavour. At the same time, my friend went for the Roots Manuva (£18). This was a blend of Belsazar Riesling vermouth, golden beet caramel, turmeric, ginseng, ginger, orange and mead, garnished with an olive. This tasted a little like a natural tonic; a little earthy and botanical, but crisp and aromatic.
And because I'm a big Prince fan, I went for the Purple Rain (£19) next. Imagine if an old fashioned and a negroni had a baby, then dipped that baby in sake. That’s what this tasted like; smokey, well-rounded and… well, yum. It was made of Johnnie Walker Black Label Whisky, salted plum, cherry bark (which apparently gives off a flavour similar to cacao) and blossom wine. This gorgeous pink concoction was served in a classic tumbler, accompanied by a huge piece of ice, a slice of pickled plum and a dainty flower. My partner ordered the WAP (£18), a mix of Casamigos Blanco tequila, schisandra, black cardamom, milk jam, egg yolk and heather honey. This was unctuous and indulgent - tasting a little like a crème caramel or a chai tea. Although it felt so rich, I don’t think you could have more than one in a sitting.
Finally, I went for one of the Pick Me Ups (£19). After sinking many a heady drink, this was was exactly the pick me up I needed. It was basically a jazzed-up spin of your classic espresso martini, containing Ketel One vodka, Eminente rum, coffee, mushroom, caramel and burnt butter. It was smooth, creamy and had a strong kick of caffeine, which I welcomed. My friend went for one of the No Whey Joses (£19), made using Volcan De Mi Tierra Blanco tequila, strawberry, red rice, rose and salted hot coconut foam. This was a really interesting one - the drink itself was cold, but the foam was hot, so as you sip, you get a mix of the two temperatures, which was slightly bizarre, although pretty cool.
While we gulped down our cocktails, we enjoyed a few nibbles too. My favourite of the lot was the truffle popcorn (£7), which I could not get enough of (where are my fellow truffle addicts at?). The marinated olives (£6) tasted fresh and perfectly seasoned, while the bowl of parmesan cheese (£7), which came in big chunks, felt a little out of place.
The DesignMyNight Digest
There's nothing like sitting in a sky-high bar, sipping expertly crafted cocktails in sultry surrounds, am I right? And in that respect, there's a lot to love about Sweeties. Yes, the price tag might be a little steep for what some are used to, but to be honest, I think it's worth it for the whole experience you get here.
💰 The damage: £131 for three cocktails each, plus nibbles.
📍 The location: 10th Floor, 10 Argyle Street, WC1H 8EG.
👌 Perfect for: Slinky date nights.
⭐ Need to know: They're going to start having DJs on the weekends soon.