Selfridges + Cocktail Bar = ?
There are very few situations and experiences in which the addition of cocktails isn’t a great idea. These situations may include, but are not limited to…
1. A house fire
2. An epileptic seizure
3. Halfway through the London Marathon
4. In the midst a polar bear attack
(You’ll note this list doesn’t include shoe stores…)
So, let’s just consider it a good idea…
So, I’m not sure who’s idea it was to put a cocktail bar in men’s shoes department at Selfridges, but it was a good one. The efficacy of said idea is maybe not so much that it’s in a shoe store, but that it’s right in the middle of the hustle and bustle of customer traffic. So the bar becomes a weirdly still, oasis of quiet alcoholic contemplation amidst the frenetic pace and weaving masses – all out for their high end shoes and fancy fragrances. The bar itself is camouflaged, lurking amidst isles of clothing and it’s almost like you have to hunt it down. Which is kinda fun.
Of course, putting somewhere that sells food and drink in a retail space is an idea that’s been done to death, the difference here being that these spaces usually seem to sell stuff like watery coffee, that unique style of ‘substandard croissants’ or slightly cold tuna sweetcorn salads (which I suppose is my predominant mental image of the culinary offerings at the now sadly defunct Allders in Croydon).
But no, this is not that. This is inside Selfidges! It’s serving cocktails! This is Oxford Street!
Maybe you just might have heard of Mark Hix, his name had rung a bell with me before I actually got off of my (metaphorical) arse and looked him up on Google – but, to cut a long story short, he’s a restaurateur, chef, and cookbook author who started out with the Hix Oyster & Fish House in Farringdon, which according to Wikipedia (seems legit) was the last place that Keith Floyd dined before his fatal heart attack in 2009. Dunno what to make of that!
Anyway, Mark’s teamed up with the fine people of Selfridges and their four floors of high end retail Mecca to create this stealthy, pop-up cocktail bar… and here are some bad pictures I took on my iPhone…
So, asides from the ambiance (it is a kinda cool idea) we got to try some of Mark’s (quite delicious) ‘snax’ and mixological creations and the overall verdict is impressive. OK, so in terms of variety, the selection doesn’t really stand up to what you get in a conventional cocktail lounge, but as I may or may not have already said (and I’ll say it again for emphasis) this is actually a tiny roaming operation within a larger store. And by roaming I mean that although it’s a permanent fixture with Selfridges, they’ll be moving it around the store on a pretty regular basis from now on.
So you have to find it every time you fancy a blast of alcohol and sugar, little bits of salmon on rye bread
Like some kind of retail hunter gatherer.
My time there was brief… but so far: good idea, great location, OK cocktails, pretty good food (more varieties please!)
If you’re in there, at least try and track it down. Just don’t get emboldened by the alcohol and nibbles and nuke all your credit cards. Or do, maybe that’s what you’re meant to do at Christmas?