#101 Skylon Bar
Here’s a place which can’t be accused of being overly laid-back: the South Bank’s Skylon bar. Even though it’s fully kitted out in an impeccably modern fashion, every surface exudes the earnest, austere style of the early 1960s, when Art was For The People to make a Better Tomorrow. It looks like its own tastefully-executed concept drawing. If you’re not dressed to the nines, you’ll feel a little scruffy.
Even the unusual cocktails feel like the fruits of much earnest labour rather than mad flights of fancy. These mini-masterpieces have an emphasis on grown-up, sophisticated tastes – their Mr Grey cocktail blends vodka infused with Earl Grey tea with rhubarb liqueur and bergamot essence, for example. How much you like the Skylon bar will depend on how serious you are. If the word ‘BUMS’ makes you laugh, sir or madam, you should probably insist on another venue. Harrumph.