The greatest thing about the scene here is that there is no scene. This basement bar, part of the Brasserie Zédel complex, is equally wonderful whether you’re treating it as a way-station en route to dinner, a nightcap-dispensary before heading home, or an evening’s entertainment all in itself (with terrific bar snacks). It’s also one of the loveliest bars in London, with an art deco look that’s changed little in decades of its existence (under various names). And just as lovely (and unchanging) is its approach to building a cocktail list: short, classic, no need to blind with science. The Martinez (vermouth, gin, maraschino, curaçao and orange bitters) is as good as we’ve had in London; and everything except champagne cocktails comes in at under £12. When people ask for a bar recommendation around Piccadilly Circus, we always raise the Américain flag.