Located along Park Lane in Mayfair, Bar 45 offers a sophisticated and intimate escape for those seeking libations away from the crowds. This elegant bar, part of the Dorchester Collection, has a chic, contemporary vibe that’s both inviting and exclusive.

As you step into Bar 45, on the first floor of 45 Park Lane, (over the road from The Dorchester)  you first notice the interior design, with the bar to the front and left of you. The space is thoughtfully laid out, with a warm and welcoming atmosphere that combines modern aesthetics with comfortable luxury. There is a rich colour palette, featuring deep browns, reds and soft lighting. If you look backward, you will notice a further space that looks as though it would be perfect for a drinks party or work gathering.

I was sorely tempted to order a flight of whisky as I spotted a Talisker, Highland Park and Macallan 25 year old. This would have eaten any budget though, but been an incredible opportunity, as seeing these together (especially as an older bottling of the Highland Park) is rare. For the real high rollers, they have a Yamazaki 25 years old at £1000 for 50ml. I have yet to taste this, I just hope to one day. 

One of the major attractions here is the cocktail menu, created by Enrico Perri, Bar Manager and Mario Gualtieri, Assistant Bar Manager. The menu is a balanced mix of classic cocktails (often with a twist which I shall come onto later) and unique creations.

Ultimately, however good the drinks are, a bar is defined by the staff. They are the heart and soul of the experience, and it should be an experience at this level, and not just functional. 

Mario, the assistant manager, was on duty when I visited. Not only was he welcoming, an essential prerequisite sadly missing from so many bars, he was particularly knowledgeable on the intricacies of mixology. This was most evident when discussing Negroni’s – one of my favourite cocktails. Bar 45 has a dedicated Negroni trolley, much like a dessert trolley of yesteryear, that is brought to your table and your choice of Negroni made in front of you. 

There are six variations on the menu, which can be tailored to your specification. I opted for a classic – a well made one is one of life’s great treats. I discussed dilution with Mario as he swirled the mixture of Gin, Campari and Antico vermouth in an ice filled crystal jug to swirl and chill. As a cask strength whisky drinker, I like my spirits strong, and therefore when making one at home do not use ice, but place it in the freezer for 30 minutes to avoid dilution. I enjoyed discussing this, but am not sure Mario approved, being a purist, but nothing beats personal preference. 

Whilst making our drinks, which were superb and perfectly balanced, Mario shared the history of the Negroni and how it was invented. I enjoyed this – mixologists at this level are highly skilled, and anyone remotely interested in drinks, should converse and absorb their knowledge. 

Prior to the Negroni, I opted for the “NUAGE”, which is a delicate mix of coconut-infused Glenmorangie, Calabro clementine liqueur, citrus and a coconut foam. It was a perfect initial cocktail that primed my palate and taste receptors before moving onto the “AND THE WINNER IS… “ A clementine liqueur infused with kaffir lime leaves, Campari infused pink pepper, Antica Formula and Barons de Rothschild champagne. 

This was sensational, and almost a hybrid Negroni for non-Negroni drinkers. It not only had a freshness to it without being sweet, the fizz from the Champagne started to stimulate my palate. The bar food had been recommended to me, so although we had a table booked downstairs in CUT at 45 Park Lane restaurant, I couldn’t help but order a selection. 

The food menu is carefully curated by celebrity chef Wolfgang Puck and 45 Park Lane’s executive chef Elliot Grover, offering some of the most luxurious bar snacks. This March, Wolfgang Puck, known for his Oscars hospitality, has invited Elliott Grover to cook three signature British dishes at the annual Governors Ball in Los Angeles. In London, 45 Park Lane are celebrating the star-studded moment by bringing Hollywood to its guests, with a menu featuring snacks celebrating British success at the Oscars, grouped under “Red Carpet Delights”. It seemed appropriate to choose these and discuss likely winners whilst enjoying them. 

The Prawn cocktail roll and caviar was a large langoustine sitting inside a soft roll with an elevated marie rose sauce and a spoon of caviar. It was delightful with the caviar acting as a seasoning and lifting and this ‘70s classic. 

I am not a batter fan but the lobster and chips with spicy tartare sauce worked for me. Served in a cone this deep fried lobster was a true luxurious take on the traditional fish and chips. I did think that a drop of vinegar would be perfect to cut through the richness, but soon realised this would have ruined the cocktails.

Completing the trio, the roast beef, Yorkshire pudding and creamed horseradish was served in a mini yorkshire pudding that was crisp on the outside and fluffy inside. The horseradish was placed considerately inside the Yorkshire, preventing any spillage, but also not overpowering, which would have potentially destroyed the intricate flavours in some of the cocktails. 

To me, the Red Carpet Delights have been carefully thought through, to complement the drinks, and not compete with them. Bar 45 proved to be the perfect spot to unwind after work, before a memorable evening having dinner at CUT downstairs. My review of that will be published soon.

Bar 45