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Imperial Durbar

  • Bars and pubs
  • Tooting
  • price 2 of 4
  • 3 out of 5 stars

Time Out says

3 out of 5 stars

A cocktail bar in Tooting Bec that seeks to evoke the decadence of Raj-era India.

They say it’s going to be an Indian summer, which should suit the denizens of Imperial Durbar just fine. This cocktail bar in Tooting Bec seeks to evoke the decadence of Raj-era India, when hordes of Britain’s second sons were sent to the colonies only to go doolally. 

The names of the drinks help set the scene: a Flashman’s Ruin is named after author George MacDonald Fraser’s fictitious rogue and poltroon, who was as politically incorrect as greasing cartridges with pork and beef fat. Yet this Flashy’s Ruin went down as willingly as one of the infamous womaniser’s Nautch girls, helped along by Havana rum shaken with puréed mango, lime juice, pineapple juice and cloves (£8).

Ask for a  Prince Albert (£7.50),  and instead of a body piercing you’ll be given an inky-blue drink that might well make you walk bow-legged. The Averna liqueur base in muddled with blackberries, fresh lime and soda water, making the strong drink refreshingly fruity and putting a spring back in your step. 

Though no screened palace, this Durbar is divided into a few discreet areas with vaguely Indian décor, and does the job if you’re after privacy. The bar food includes modern creations such as chicken tikka masala, but if you hunger for more authentic tastes of the subcontinent, Tooting’s many excellent Indian cafés and restaurants start a mere ten minutes’ walk away. Save the Imperial Durbar for off-duty sharpeners before or after dining; puttees and pith helmets may be left with your driver. 

Written by
Guy Dimond


14 Trinity Rd
SW17 7RE
Tube: Tooting Bec
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