Down an unexciting street just off Tottenham Court Road you’ll observe a hoard of #Instabloggers queueing for a peek of the oft-’grammed Dalloway Terrace. Manage to squeeze past their perfect balayage and razor-sharp contour though, and you’ll find yourself in a twinkly low-lit grotto, complete with low-hanging botanicals and candles omitting sweet scents.
On a soggy Thursday night, this is exactly where, to my delight, my boyfriend and I found ourselves. Passing through the cosy cave, we entered the Bloomsbury Club Bar’s second space - a literary-themed drinking den. Adorned with dark woods, plush velvet curtains and bottles of golden liquor... it was a promising start.
We weren’t just here to gawp at the dreamy interiors though (although gawp, we did), we were here to sample the new tarot-inspired cocktail menu. The very one which promised to read my mind, and then find the perfect drink to suit my deepest darkest desires - as far as claims go, this one was a biggie.
Once seated, watered and olive-d up we were presented with a small red bound booklet filled with 14 hand-drawn illustrations - one for each cocktail, along with the ingredients of each and their supposed effect on your mood. Our waiter explained that the Bloomsbury Set (the group of 19th-century writers that inspired this place) had rejected the strict Victorian ideas of religion and authority, preferring instead to explore spirituality and the inter-connected universe - hence the reason for this new immersive menu.
With nothing else left to do - it was time to put our fate into the hands of the diviner. Styled much like Zoltar the fortune teller, a mahogany box was brought to our table and a red velvet cover was lifted to reveal a turbaned lady with glowing green features. Carefully placing my hand on the machine, her eyes locked into mine and a few seconds of flashing cards later my mood was revealed to be dreamy (when surrounded by such luxury, was it any wonder?). Next up, my boyfriend’s turn, his perceived state of mind? Anxious - and nursing a pretty heavy hangover from a work event the night previous, it wasn’t hard to see why.
We both decided to take the diviner’s word for it, ordering two of her suggested sips. Mine, the ‘Mirror Image’ (£14), a concoction of Mount Gay XO and absinthe paired with beeswax infused Rémy Martin and blackberry tincture, was more than enough to snap me out of my dreamlike state - smoothly gliding down the throat more like a syrup than a cocktail, and lighting a fire in my tummy that warmed from the inside out.
Flicking through the menu, with my newly sharpened senses, I picked the Forbidden Fruit (£14) for my next sip. The most oft-ordered cocktail, it was a gin-based concoction flavoured with sweet and sour apple essence. Thirst-quenching and moreish to the max, it vowed to turn any feelings of lust into true love. Delicious, although perhaps a little intense for a first date scenario…
As live swing music started to drift through the air (hello, date night Nirvana), two glasses of Persian Mist (£14) arrived at our table. A surprising twist on the White Russian, this dinky cocktail was infused with Indonesian coffee and topped with golden double cream - velvet in its consistency, the delicate notes of rose blossom balanced the bitterness of the coffee beans perfectly.
The DesignMyNight Digest
Ascending the twinkly staircase back up to the chaos of Tottenham Court Road and the 134 home, it's fair to say we felt a little less dreamy, a little less anxious and safe in the knowledge that we may just have found London's classiest immersive experience. While these drinks may not have been able to predict our future, I for one foresee a return to The Bloomsbury Club Bar (and perhaps a few more glasses of the Forbidden Fruit too).