Voltaire Cocktails & Champagne Bar

Bars and pubs, Hotel bars Blackfriars
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Voltaire Cocktails & Champagne Bar
Venue says Cigar Master Class - San Cristobal de la Habana La Fuerza paired with Bulleit Rye, Makers Mark Bourbon and a cocktail, 20 March, 6:30pm

What used to be a prison has been converted into a Champagne and cigar bar at the edge of the City. It's an ideal spot for post-work drinks – the private VIP vault areas can be reserved for groups while the bar offerings run from cocktails, starting at £9, to a range of Champagne, from £11 for a glass to £1,200 for a Cuvée Louise Brut 1990 Jeroboam. The food menu includes club sandwiches, somerset brie with spicey orange marmalade or Indian aloo tikki with mint and cucumber yogurt.

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Voltaire Cocktails & Champagne Bar says
Voltaire Cocktail Bar & Vaults is a City bar that creates reinterpretations of classic cocktails using homemade liqueurs, syrups and infusions.

The Grade II-listed Voltaire is steeped in history and has undergone many guises, located on the site of King Henry VIII's royal Bridewell Palace, a prison and a bank before finally finding its feet as one of London’s finest drinking haunts.

Voltaire has retained the original cells and latterly vaults which are now unique heated private dens for couples to groups, locates on a cigar terrace. Alongside a cocktail list and cigar menu. Voltaire also serves a Cocktail Afternoon Tea during the day and bar bites in the evening.

In the deluxe Crowne Plaza London The City, Voltaire is located opposite Blackfriars Tube and Rail stations and is a 8-minute walk from St Paul’s Cathedral and the circle line.
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Venue name: Voltaire Cocktails & Champagne Bar
Address: 19
New Bridge Street
Opening hours: Monday - Saturday 2pm - 1am Day: 2:00pm – 5:00pm Afternoon Tea (from 1.00pm on Saturdays) Evening: 5:00pm – 11:00pm Gourmet Burgers 5:00pm - 1:00am Cocktails Sunday Closed
Transport: Tube: Blackfriars; Rail: Blackfriars
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Average User Rating

2.8 / 5

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Nice concept, cute vaults and awesome champagne ... But appalling service - to the point of laughable. I wasn't given a menu, and our chips appeared with duck scratchings on - which were yummy, but which no one thought to tell us about beforehand! Such a shame as its a place with great potential, but I won't be going back.


This place could have been so much more with better marketing and if the owners put a little soul into it. The decor is nice, but very standard city style with not much thought in it. You can feel the atmosphere when you walk in- it's not the most welcoming. Something needs to be done about the lighting, in some parts it's almost blinding and sterile. Such a waste of space those massive booths on one side, if those walls could come down a little more people would actually interact with each other and have fun.

I must repeat- this place needs a soul and some loving. People that opened it, did it just for the sake of opening. 


Classy venue and great location. The decor was super sleek, with it's vast leather-seated booths and shiny lamps. I came here to try out Lamb's new single casket offering as part of Rum Week but the rum cocktails were unfortunately not to my taste. Plus the nachos we ordered were distinctly average- cheap tortillas with sloppy sauce dumped on top with cheese? Not good enough. However, the atmosphere was lovely and I'd come back here if I was passing, but I wouldn't go out of my way to come here.


I am afraid this place just isn't the one! In a quiet part of London, tricky to find and average cocktails. Fair too sweet, and very slow service although staff were all very friendly. New furnishings however all fairly tacky.


Voltaire is tucked away inside the Crowne Plaza hotel on the lip of Blackfriars Bridge and as such, you should arrive with expectations of what it is: a hotel bar. It's the kind of place that you could imagine being used as set in an ITV-version of Sex and the City. It's pretty unremarkable as a bar apart from the vaults that they have as private spaces which you can reserve. Each vault has a slightly different theme and would be a quirky place to try out if you needed a bookable space for a drink in this area! I visited Voltaire as part of Lamb's Rum Week where the launch party was being held and as a few other Tastemakers have mentioned, the service was pretty slow but I suspect that this might have been down to an influx of Time Out Tastemakers thirsty for rum cocktails! Sidenote: the bar food is honestly some of the most uninspiring bar food I've ever encountered. Tortilla chips with grated cheese on top, does not nachos make.


Voltaire has a great location inside of the fancy Crowne Plaza hotel a stone's throw away from Blackfriars station. Really cosy little bar, with great inlets to cosy up and have a few drinks and snacks. We attended as part of the Lamb's Rum week launch party and got free cocktails all evening, the bartenders were great fun and had a sense of humour but I do admit the service was pretty slow. I would go back for the ambience, as the weather gets colder I think this is a great hidden location in Blackfriars!


I went along to the launch of Lamb's rum as part of Rum Week and although the cocktails were delicious, I don't think Voltaire would be my first choice when looking for a bar to hang out in around Blackfriars. The concept is really cool, with old vaults converted into little hubs to cosy up to your friends in, but the vibe is a little too fancy and the service a little slow for my taste.


I'll be honest, I wasn't aware it was Rum Week here in London! I entered the ballot for tickets and was offered two for the official Lamb’s Rum Week launch party. Voltaire is underground and part of Crown Plaza near Blackfriars. On entry, it looked pretty cool, with private volts outside and a plush lounge bar in shades of cream, turqouise and gold. There was no more than 30 people when we arrived, so a small intimate gathering with what looked like a mix of Tastemakers (with green wristbands) and city workers. The first issue was the wait for service. The two barmen looked like they were on training and struggled to do simple cocktail shaking and measuring. The cocktails themselves were free all night, a sweet and sour conconction and rightly so because the glasses were 1/4 full and topped with ice. If the venue wasn't so stylish and comfortable, then it definitely wouldn't have been worth the visit. For a Rum Party it certainly wasn't lively enough with no structure to the evening - a talk or ice breaker would have been great. We stayed for 2-3 hours and left suitably unimpressed.


As part of rum week I was offered 2 tickets for this venue for a launch night of Navy's Rum. Overall, the venue is pretty cool, with a row of little gated rooms/caves lining the arches just outside the venue. Each room has a different name and they look extremely snug, private and cosy. I believe they're designed for their extensive cigar selection

Inside, the bar is attached to the hotel and is pretty large with hefty booths for people to sit around. Given it was a launch night, having only 2 bartenders was disappointing and the cocktails themselves weren't exactly showing the rum in the best way possible.  

I believe they have a happy hour, but Voltaire would not be my first choice of bar venue if I was in the Blackfriars area. Having said that, if I was looking for a decent setting to catch up with some mates, it would defo be worth considering! 


Voltaire is an opulent bar located in the basement of a hotel close to the city of London. 

I was fortunate enough to be invited to sample some great cocktails as part of Rum Experience Week so can't say much about food or price. But overall, I enjoyed my time at Voltaire. The atmosphere is really quite chill and if you manage to find yourself a seat in one of the booths or in the corner of the venue, it can be quite comfy. The music wasn't so loud so you can happily chat away to mates without having to shout and outside there are further seatings in alcoves which are great for groups. The bartenders were also good fun to chat to and where helpful explaining the choices offer. 

It also wasn't so busy when I visited (I suspect because it's a little tricky to find and also because it was a Monday). Located on the edge of the city in Blackfriars, Voltaire a great place for post-work drinks.


I have to admit that I would not have chosen the Voltaire to go for AWDs anytime soon, but as I have been fortune enough to have two tickets to Lamb's Rum Week party I thought it might be a good chance to discover it for myself. After having some trouble locating the venue (we didn't expect it to be part of a hotel) my friend and me were pleasantly surprised by the location - the vaults outside remind you of its history, although much cosier now. The inside is nice too of course ;) Once we have received our wristband we went straight to the bar and the staff there was really nice and helpful. They explained their offer of the night and dos a good job mixing the drinks. Even though as the evening progressed and it got busier they tried to serve everybody with a smile (having been a waitress myself - I can still remember how hard it can be to smile in every situation). It might have been worth having a third person behind the bar in order to keep up with speed and quality, but that isn't anything I would complain about too much. And they even asked afterwards if we enjoyed the evening or if there has been anything that didn't go well - which we declined, as they have done a good job from my point of view. My and my friend really liked the place and after we had a peek in the menu - we might actually come back for drinks (not at all as expensive as you would have expected). It's been a great start into the week!


Did you know its Rum Experience Week in London right now?! Don’t feel bad, I didn’t realise either, until I got tickets to Lamb’s Rum Week launch party at Voltaire. Having never heard of Voltaire before, I checked out their website and the bar sounded awesome - a grade II listed building converted from a bank that was converted from a prison with VIP areas set up in old stone vaults. Even though it was a Monday evening, I was excited to see it in the flesh and taste lots of rum!

I arrived with a friend to find the bar was actually inside the Crowne Plaza Hotel, probably not the most glamourous entrance, but we headed in and straight to the bar. The barmen were all waistcoated –up, smiley, welcoming and they mixed us up some expertly garnished rum cocktails (one sweet & one sour). The sour one really packed a rum PUNCH, so we stuck with sweet for the rest of the evening and ordered a dim sum platter to line the stomach. They arrived authentically presented in a bamboo steamer, supersized with some welcomed twists on traditional recipes like scallop topped siu mai (pork dumplings)! Delicious!

The seating areas were arranged cosily with plenty of cushions, surrounded by fairy light, however, the main lights were never dimmed to fully appreciate them. The cocktails were pleasant enough and the bar food was tasty, but as expected for so early in the week, the bar wasn’t very busy and this may have made for a different experience. Perhaps it would be better on a Thursday or Friday night…though I’d worry that the cocktail service wouldn’t handle a larger crowd very well.


Mixed thoughts on this one... cracking venue. Very unique and quirky. Love the little outdoor alcoves where you can even listen to your own music via Bluetooth (nice touch). However, service is appalling, so slow and lacking personality. Not a great deal of atmosphere either. Finally, the rum cocktails are far too sickly sweet, a shame as we came as part of "rum week" and was looking forward to them!


Went for a couple of rum cocktails as part of #rumweek. The cocktails themselves weren't amazing, they were passable at best, and the venue was a bit bland, not much of an atmosphere going on. The bar staff weren’t particularly friendly or inviting. 

There were quite cool outdoor intimate alcoves with prison-style doors though, where people could sit (equipped with heaters, so you wouldn't get too cold – we were in ‘the thinkers’ alcove). These included CD players and a connection for USB cables, and supposedly had Bluetooth enabled too, though we tried to connect with our phones but couldn't – it would be a great touch to be able to play your own tunes if it worked!


In a city teeming with cocktail bars offering unique, creative and imaginative cocktails then Voltaire is entirely forgettable. Part of the Crowne Plaza hotel you only ever feel like you're in a non remarkable hotel chain bar. With a city full of fantastic options you'd be hard pushed to choose Voltaire. It's only real selling point are the quirky vaults outside which offer privacy and a bit of fun and something different. But even with those, the place just seems bland. 


Set in the Crowne Plaza Hotel,Blackfriars, blink and you will miss this little gem of luxury!

Fantastic bespoke cocktails and a large variety of wines, spirits this is a fantastic venue for post work drinks and a date if you are looking to impress!

The converted, heated vaults outdoors again offer that little bit of quirkiness, available to book if you want somewhere a little more private.

Food menu looks great although I just wanted the cocktails :)


I really enjoyed sinking back into the high backed, plush, cavernous armchairs. The rum however... The rum cocktails weren't bad. They were sweet and vaguely pleasing. The venue was somewhat generic and bland. As it's in a hotel and slightly below ground floor, for it to be interesting I would suggest some more quirky touches to the decor might be needed. Service was good when it was provided - there were loooong waits.


So where to start?

The venue was amazing. Voltaire was a prison that turned into a chichi champagne, whiskey and cocktail bar... with gorgeous passage and vaults behind the bar. 

But the #rum based cocktails for #rumweek was less than impressive. We tried the Lamb's Punch first - which was supposedly contemporary and created - according to the barman - in 36 hours by him and the manager. One sip and my #plus1 reaction was Omg this is SWEET. it was sweet and ladened with cherry. The second sip made you nostalgic for cherry flavoured cough syrup which I never did like anyway. 

We paced ourselves and waited to order the second round - the more traditional Lamb's rum based martini-which was rumoured to be sour - but no it was sweet too. In fact it was more syrupy than the first one. It transported me straight to a wintery night in Bavaria, where the dink du jour would have been Schnapps except I was in London, in a gorgeous October evening and there were photos of the new James Bond movie everywhere and it makes me want a proper martini. This one just lacks in sophistication and finesse. In fact they might as well just call it Lamb;s Cherry Schnapps.

The service was Appalling with a capital A. The barman was sour - maybe that's what they meant by the more traditional concoction being sour - it was shaken by a surfaced barman. After the fabulous week that was London Cocktail Week - where all the barmen were brilliant, engaging, gorgeous and funny - this one came across like he either woke up at the wrong side of the bed or is still dealing with his Monday issues. The waitress I spoke to about the nachos was also rude.

And the other thing, do not order the nachos - it is terrible.

Will I come again? maybe but only for the novelty of the vault, the historical fact that it was once a prison BUT when I do, we will just be ordering champagne or whiskey because I do not want to be served by a precious barman or another rude waitress.


Very classy place for drinks after work if your office is in the City. The atmosphere reminded me of some nice bars I've been to in Milan and the bartenders seemed to be very experienced - service was impeccable. It also feels like the kind of place you would go for a little special occasion - lights and decorations make it a wonderful nest to chill out away from the crowds above ground. 

Can't say much about food as we just ordered some nibbles, but everything we had (chips & cheesy nachos with guac) was really good and arrived super quickly.

A very unique feature are the vaults, that can be booked for private parties. 

Another thing I really liked is that even though the place is quite elegant, I didn't feel underdressed coming back from work. You can have a drink, relax and unwind before boarding your train back home. Definitelly worth a visit!

Fantastic bar - booked one of the vaults which are great for an intimate drinks venue! Staff were very attentive! Highly recommended!