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/
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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" .
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 😚.
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!).
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!
Ade Akins (@ImAdeAkins)