Walking into the reception of The Kensington hotel, the low hum is unmistakable: the sound of a lively bar, where people are having fun. There’s no more inviting noise in the world. At early evening, The K Bar benefits from guests either returning or preparing for a night out. Either way, they’re after top-notch drinks and have come to the right place.
Table service is as good as you’d expect from a quality hotel, with oak-panelled walls and a marble-topped bar adding to the air of opulence. It’s a relatively small area and despite large, comfy sofas lining the walls, you might struggle to find a seat at peak times. But that all adds to the aforementioned buzz, really.
Cocktails, meanwhile, are all expertly mixed. The 'deluxe' menu's Sazerac is as good as you’d get anywhere in London – and that’s saying something in a city that’s fully embraced the Louisiana drink - while for the nightcap crowd, there’s even a couple of dessert cocktails.
What’s clear is that standards here are set high. Given west London’s dearth of decent cocktail bars, this could be either a blessing or a curse. As The K Bar’s head barman points out, ‘People usually like to move on when they go out. But when they come here there’s nowhere near for before or after.’ My tip? Stay at The K Bar for one more instead.