Zeta Bar is all clean lines, high ceilings and expanses of glass, which, in a city chock full of cupboard-sized bars and basement drinking dens is a breath of fresh air – and we’re not just talking about the cool breeze from the open-air terrace that looks across the green copper domes of the Queen Victoria Building directly opposite.
Of course, the terrace is now the domain of smokers and the iron-willed, over whom a cheese board with an aged goat’s cheese, a ripe camembert and a creamy blue hold no sway. For everyone keen on a little salty something with their drinks, stake your claim on a soft leather lounge by the huge two-sided gas fireplace and order up olives, truffle cheese fries or mini burgers.
The international pedigree of the Hilton’s cocktail bar is celebrated in a cocktail list divided by destination – Singapore, Puerto Rico, London, New York, Milan and Sydney – and the fresh and lively Bloody Mary with a savoury celery salt rim does Mother England proud. The great thing about a cocktail bar in a famously upmarket hotel is that drinks come with a hint of holiday.
Get acquainted with the Lady of Guadalupe, a reworked Margarita that tames a lug of Ilegal mezcal with a sweet and nutty macadamia liqueur, before ramping things back up with lime juice and a gentle jalapeño agave. It’s a less punchy and more intriguing take on the spring break special.
This is the kind of luxe bar you visit when you want to decompress in style. Riding low on a black leather lounge and watching the city light up as the daylight fades is a good way of getting your mind right, and a salty sweet cocktail completes the scene. That’s why we go to Zeta Bar; it’s a little holiday top-up when your reserves are running low.