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M Bar | A Fancy Destination Bar in Victoria for a Classier Experience

M Bar | A Fancy Destination Bar in Victoria for a Classier Experience

Contributed by: @ImAdeAkins

First thing's first, you're probably wondering "WTF is a destination bar?" Well, I don't blame you because until recently, I was also unaware. Essentially, a destination bar is one with a real wow factor and are able to attract customers beyond their local community. M Bar certainly earns its wow factor credentials, being located in the basement of a truly luxurious and multi-faceted establishment two restaurants (grill and raw restaurant), wine tasting room & shop as well as private rooms for venue hire and club members. I took a trip to visit the shiny, new addition to the M Restaurants chain in Victoria boasting a pretty awesome (and pricey) cocktail list. Now those who know me or follow my bar reviews will know I usually focus on casual bars, however as they say "not everyday" sometimes, you're in need of a slightly classier experience.

M BAR AT A GLANCE

  • Venue type: High-end bar
  • Location: Victoria, Central London
  • Opening hours: 07:00am–Midnight (Mon-Fri) |  10:00am – Midnight (Sat-Sun)
  • Drink prices: £12+ (Martini happy hour between 6-7pm daily) 
  • Bar food prices: Mains cost £10-20 in the bar, in the grill restaurant, meals can set you back £75
  • Private membership: £800 a year, (comes with benefits such as free breakfast during weekdays & exclusive venue hire)
  • Website: http://mrestaurants.co.uk/

INSIDE

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It's hard to travel anywhere on Victoria street and not seen this brightly lit storefront. Then again, you may have become blind as a result of seeing it as it really is illuminated. Having done little to no research before going I wasn't expecting to walk into a wine bar initially. It looked so lush that I almost questioned if I had dressed properly for the occasion. Treading carefully to ensure I didn't break any of the very expensive wine bottles and jealously eyeing a private function in the glass room above I proceeded downstairs. It's worth pointing out that between 5-6pm on weekdays there is complimentary wine tasting- yes you read correctly!

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Downstairs, I was welcomed to have my pick of tables but I declined and opted for a seat at the bar. It's quite a massive space and the furniture/decor is very chic indeed. You get the sense straight away that this is somewhere that prides itself on quality.

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DRINKS

I always like to introduce befriend the bartender as I find this is the best way to get the best service and unleash their flare. A good mixologist is super passionate about cocktails so taking an interest and asking them for their tips is a must. Laury was no exception and was full of energy, knowledge and charisma. Anyway, let's talk about the drinks. Considering M Bar prides itself on its Martinis, I urged my friend (and fellow ADZVICE contributor) to give the Espresso martini a go.

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I was tempted to try the 'Rare Old Beast cocktail as it featured Mortlach' - (the brand I manage professionally in my day job). However, at £35 a drink I opted instead to admire the bottle and order a Passionfruit Chilli Martini at a more moderate £14.

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The chilli was interesting but I would only recommend for the adventurous as there's safer options for cocktail novices. After finishing that, Yemi and I both agreed that we had to consume at least another to make sure you got the best ADZVICE possible ;)! Once Laury started bringing out several pieces of apparatus we knew the next cocktail would be special. I'm a big whisky sour fan so thought I'd give this smoky rum sour a try. Whilst pleasant, I could not say I would choose it over the classic.

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It would be rude to not give a special shoutout to the older chaps who ordered us both an American Dandy, a beautiful mix of Bulleit Burbon, cherry syrup, coffee and served in a chocolate-dusted flute glass. They made the point of letting us know that one of them had recently become a father and was married to a woman much younger- meanwhile, all I was thinking was "fair play mate, you just keep these cocktails coming my good sir" .

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PRIVATE MEMBERS' CLUB

Those with some money to spend and enjoy the finer things in life might want to become a private member. For £800 a year, you get complimentary breakfast during the week, a discount off all food and drink purchases as well as exclusive hire of the private members room 3 times a year + a personalised bottle of Johnnie Walker Blue. If I lived closer to Victoria, I probably would have considered signing up on the promise of breakfast alone 😚.

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FINAL THOUGHTS ON M BAR

To round up, anyone looking for something more premium than their usual offerings should check this out. In hindsight, I would have done a review of the grill restaurant also as food is at the heart of this place (it even cures its own meat!).

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It was quite empty in the bar but considering it was a Tuesday this didn't seem odd. The restaurant was much livelier so it would be unfair to critique this point. I would though encourage you to make sure you have good company with you and go on a Friday/Saturday. I would certainly recommend checking this place out for anyone in need of a fancy destination bar. Or perhaps, you need somewhere to impress someone or a cool venue to hire. Hopefully I'll get a chance to return and let you know about the food. (Wink, wink, nudge, nudge M Restaurant, feel free to send me an invite :D)

Until next time chaps!

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Ade Akins (@ImAdeAkins)

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