Reason & Mankind: A New Clandestine Cocktail Bar For The West End
Behind a velvet rope, decadently downstairs, behind a secret door, and part of the Libertine nightclub (a rebranded Chinawhite) a great new bar has opened. Reason & Mankind is situated just behind the last great record shop in the world, the flagship HMV in the Fitzrovia end of Oxford Street, and is an oasis of causal sophistication in an area best known for sandwich bars, burger joints and pubs.
The cocktails are all brilliantly formulated and this is a really strange thing to say, are actually great fun. We had ‘The Silver Needle’ made with creamy gin (a first for me!) and vermouth, a variant on a Martini you may think. But it is served with a ‘carry-on’ sized syringe – full of jasmine tea and orange bitters. So you try the Martini and then add via the syringe as much tea and bitters as your palate demands. The flavours were really really spot on – and led to us trying a ‘Coachman’s Gift’. Delicately flavoured vodka, orange curacao, rose water. But served with a small bottle, masquerading as laudanum (a Victorian tincture of heroin – totally legal at the time, and very, very addictive!) but actually containing syrup of pomegranate – again you add as much and as little as you like. And again a perfect quaff!
Jess Cheeseman (ex Gaucho and Purl) has masterminded the drinks menu – and a highly inventive and digestible list it is too, with such exotic names as Nelson’s Blood, Top Hat and Tails, Sailor’s Nod. All drinks are priced between £8-£12 and given prices elsewhere in the nearby hotels – are very reasonable indeed. To keep the drinks flowing longer, to-share platters of food are available and from what I saw looked jolly good, and at £12.50 per dish (for two to share) it was the charcuterie platter that took my eye.
Old ‘twenties silent movies are projected on the walls and the whole place had the sense of a speakeasy lost in time – all to a non intrusive jazzy soundtrack. The staff were warm and unusually polite – a huge plus anywhere, anytime. A great place for either after work drinks or a an evening celebration. It’s small and intimate, but special and classy. And not a bank-breaker. I’ll be returning…
Reason & Mankind
4 Winsley Streeet
Monday – Friday 5.30pm till late
Saturday 8pm till late
Words: Tris PennaJump to comments