In A Word
Smokers of sophisticated versions of tobacco, such as cigars and shisha (they have a shisha terrace and a smoking lounge…these are possibly the same thing?)
Clubbers, music lovers, party people and the cool cats that may frequent the Marylebone area
Impulsive fellows and anyone who’s suddenly decided against shopping on Oxford Street in favour of food, drink, music and smoke
Cocktail enthused individuals of every variety
People who are only moderately hungry and need somewhere to drop in, pre something else
How To Get Drunk In Mayfair: A Guide For The Perplexed
What is Apres exactly? Very much a nightclub, by design and by feeling. Show up in the late afternoon it’ll probably be dead quiet. Things seem to get lively after about 9pm. There’s another, larger bar area downstrairs, which was however empty when we were there.
I’ve visited 2 and a half years ago, the interior is as I remember it, though the outside seems to have changed…
A small food menu that arrives on freshly printed pieces of paper suggests transience and more of an emphasis on drink, than food (the drinks menu is leather bound and mighty looking)
Apres’ front entrance seems to serve more as the side entrance (though I suppose this is all a matter of perspective) – we actually missed it when walking down Duke Street. Approach from the side however, and you won’t miss it – there’s a lot of people out front smoking shisha and talking about the stock market, or something…
All throughout, Dom & I wondered what target audience Apres targets. We have decided that, with said Shisha offerings (including a £120 Grey Goose Vodka & Watermelon mix, that comes with two watermelon Martinis too…) that there’s certainly a large Middle Eastern segment.
The decor is hard to describe. Perhaps generic club (think ‘reflective surfaces and lights in unusual places’) with a…very slightly rustic twist?
At some point a guitarist appears and challenges my assumption that the only music they’ll play will be generic funky house music and Latin downtempo ‘best of’ mixes. He’s actually really good (in the folky, thumb & fingerpicking style). At some point he plays Angie and Dom develops a temporary musical-man crush. Turns out he used to hang out with Bert Jansch…
Apres clearly shine on the drinks front. Well, if the disproportionate ‘drink to food ratio’ in the menu is anything to go by.
It’s easy to drink, but it does the job too (as in, ‘does a job on your liver’). Definitely a fine cocktail and probably not one you should have too often/too many of. Served tall, bitch!
Boom Iceland Iced T
You could taste the Pisco, but again, it was balanced into the mix, creating something easy to drink and potent too. Danger. Sweet, delicious danger.
Tall, Dark And Handsome
And yes, they have wine too. I had a Pedroncelli Friends Red Sonoma 2010. A blend I quite enjoyed, but not enough to devote a 2 paragraph rant to :3
After some thought/investigation, Apres doesn’t seem to offer any one single style of cuisine, but a kind of very high end bar snacks, though it doesn’t feel like the kind of place you’d go for a proper ‘sit down meal’ (especially after you have alcohol induced munchies and want to faceplant a few thousand calories).
Note: they serve a £9.50 flat iron steak so maybe it was just a matter of ordering more dishes, next time around…
Anyway, inability to execute a caloric faceplant aside, we had the following…
Sweet Potato Straws
Brittle, they break apart everywhere, leaving discarded bits of straw all over the place. They also tend to stab you in the face a bit (don’t worry, no blood) and go up your nose. After eating a few, you realise that there’s a faint vinegar taste as well, which I liked.
I suppose I rather they were drier and chunkier…
You get all of these tastes initially, and then…the chipotle. Inexorably and inevitably, like the blast radius moving out from a nuclear explosion, the chipotle consumes all the other flavours, leaving you alone with the taste of smokey spiciness and nothing but a memory of the burger. It’s almost like a waste of all the other good ingredients On the flipside, it’s not particularly hot, so it won’t burn your mouth, it’ll just overpower the other flavours.
Definitely the most excellent slider of my short lived slider consuming career, the layers contrast so that when you bite through the brioche bun your tongue/teeth meets various layers of different texture and resistance – starting with the soft, yielding cheese, graduating to the more firm portobello mushroom, and the eventual crunchy battered shiitake centre.
If this is how vegetarians eat burgers, then I’ll make the switch any day (though this switch won’t last long because mackerel exists). Highly recommended.
Vietnamese Style Hot Wings With Nuoc Cham Dipping Sauce
Caveat – these are not chicken wings, these are chicken legs, look at them. They are also tiny chicken legs – baby chickens perhaps…or some kind of game bird. The taste is quite meaty, satisfying, and vaguely familiar – the outside slightly crispy. The sauce is supposedly Vietnamese, but kinda tastes like a gastronomical dead ringer for sweet chilli sauce. Maybe it’s the Vietnamese version of chilli sauce. Definitely a dish with broad appeal, and not bad.
Oreo & Mascarpone Brownie Bites
It’s not bad, but as brownies go it’s not how I like it – I prefer it to get softer, the deeper you bite into it, until the centre is pretty much gooey, whereas these were a little dry. Also the portion is a bit stingy for what you get.
As a guy who 1. doesnt really go clubbing 2. Eats large portions, all in all, it’s not really the kind of place I’d visit regularly. Apres bring an interesting take on bar food, and the fact that they brought an actual guitarist to play actual live music in was definitely a strike in their favour.
Since their events calendar changes quite frequently (as does their food menu, I’d imagine) – I’d like to come back and give them another try.
A: 31 Duke St, London W1U 1LG
P: 020 7224 3452