The legendary Blue Bar at The Berkeley, created by the late great designer David Collins, is marking the start of summer with a collection of new innovative cocktails, soon-to-be-cult bar snacks, refreshed interiors, and DJ vinyl sessions late into the night.
When it first opened its doors over 20 years ago in October 2000, the Blue Bar – with its standout hue specially created from 50 different shades of blue – became the first spot to make hotel bars a place to be seen and a ‘scene’ in their own right, mixing dazzling drinks with glamourous hospitality and a crowd full of fashionistas. Music has always been a part of its DNA. It was an early haunt of entertainment royalty counting Madonna – a close friend of Collins – as a regular guest and the bar has seen two sell-out CD collections of its most signature sounds from world music and jazz to deep house. This became a legendary compilation, climaxing with a rare mix of ‘Music’ – a coup appointed to the bar by Madonna who rarely appeared on compilation discs.
Today the Blue Bar, adorned in its signature Lutyen’s blue, continues to be an epicentre of mixology and cocktail culture, and this June will see its treasured walls enter a new chapter with a menu devised by Bar Manager Marcello Cauda. The new drink offering will include twelve signature cocktails, two of which can be made non-alcoholic. The menu and cocktails take inspiration from the Blue Bar’s rich heritage – the physical menu itself both nods to the design of the iconic mirrors which have always hung in the bar, whilst also mimicking a vinyl sleeve reflecting the bar’s music credentials.
The Blue Bar’s snacks have long been an integral part of the bar. Longtime favourites including the brie, Wiltshire ham and truffle toasties are now joined by steak tartare crumpets, topped with confit egg yolk and pickled shallot; churros with lashings of shaved Manchego cheese; Dorset crab tacos and a 5 star take on the humble hot dog. As a new signature touch every night, at 11 o’clock the bar team will circulate French fries piled high on ornate silver trays (complete with obligatory ketchup and mayo), and delicately distribute with silver tongs, creating the ultimate high / low snacking moment.
Titled ‘Blue Move’, the cocktail menu highlights include ‘I’m Blue’, a refreshing and slightly sweet disco-inspired drink that captures the vibrant energy of the Blue Bar team and ‘Mirror Martini’, a fruity and dry gin-based cocktail which carefully blends aperitif wines and is served into a mirror coated martini glass – an affectionate nod to the signature mirrors on the wall. Perfect for warmer months, ‘Side by Side’ is a Sangria-style tequila-based drink which cleverly showcases peach in three ways – using a peach aperitif, a peach liqueur and finally garnished with a Japanese ‘Wakamomo’ peach. The savoury yet fruity ‘Roadrunner’ is the ideal tipple for food lovers, taking inspiration from Zapotec cooking methods via fermentation and using Mexican ingredients such as corn, mole bitter and Ancho Reyes Chile liqueur. For those after a caffeine boost post-dinner or late into the night, the go-to drink of choice will be the coffee-based ‘Nitromisu’, a chocolatey and nutty highball cocktail that is inspired by the flavours of tiramisu.