Hottest bar openings in August 2021By Kate Malczewski
Looking for new bars to add to your bucket list? This is our pick of the most exciting venues to open their doors last month.
In August, cocktail lovers welcomed a variety of hotly anticipated drinking dens.
London gained La Rampa, a Cuban-inspired bar with a cocktail list developed by an industry pro, as well as Park Row, a massive venue themed around the DC comic book universe.
Meanwhile, Edinburgh became home to a bar focused on all things Espresso Martini, and New York City saw the opening of a brand-new karaoke bar serving up colourful cocktails.
Read on for our selection of the best openings from August. Keen for more new bars? Check out our list of July’s openings.
Independent brewery Salt has opened the doors to its namesake venue, a New York-style bar, in East Parade in Leeds, UK.
Naturally, beer lovers have plenty of choice here, but the cocktail lovers will also be pleased. Salt offers eight serves on tap, including a Salted Caramel Espresso Martini and a Pear & White Tea Fizz. Plus, local DJs spin every weekend, creating a buzzy atmosphere.
Bar La Rampa, London
London’s Soho neighbourhood has a new destination for Cuban cocktails and cuisine. Bar La Rampa is the latest venue from hospitality group MJMK, the team behind London restaurants Kol and Casa do Frango.
Inspired by the culture of 1950s Havana, La Rampa boasts a food menu developed by Tātā Eatery’s Ana Gonçalves and Zijun Meng. Meanwhile, the cocktail list was designed by bar expert Marcis Dzelzainis, who also put together the drinks offering for the recently opened venue Christina’s at The Mondrian Shoreditch.
Earlier this year, Dzelzainis told The Spirits Business that he aims to “challenge preconceptions” of Cuban drinks through his cocktails for La Rampa. As such, the bar’s serves include thoughtful riffs on classics like the Mojito and Daiquiri.
Park Row, London
Batman fans, rejoice: Central London is now home to Park Row, a massive food and drinks venue inspired by the DC comic book universe.
The space offers a multitude of different restaurants and bars: The Iceberg Lounge, a bar themed around Batman villain The Penguin; Rogues Gallery, a restaurant focused on the character Catwoman; Amusement Mile, a restaurant where guests are served on trolleys; Old Gotham City, a forthcoming late-night drinking den; and Pennyworth’s, a whisky bar inspired by Alfred, Batman’s British butler – featuring a specially designed whisky trolley (pictured) that aims to ‘provide the perfect pour’ using a cantilever system.
Then there’s The Monach Theatre, Park Row’s dining pièce de résistance. The 20-seat restaurant serves an 11-course tasting menu, complete with an immersive ‘gastronomic show’ that promises to entertain comic book enthusiasts and food-obsessed folks alike.
Ms Kim’s, New York City
Cocktails and karaoke combine at Ms Kim’s, a new bar and lounge in New York City’s NoMad district.
Founded by Anna Kim, CEO of spa business Bling Lash and the Miss K Cosmetics brand, Ms Kim’s offers views of the Empire State Building and a menu of Japanese- and Korean-inspired cuisine.
Meanwhile, the bar serves up crowd-pleasing cocktails like the Butterfly, a colourful mix of butterfly pea flower tea-infused Tequila, lavender syrup, lime and soda water.
The Victoria Oxshott, Leatherhead
Igniting Hospitality, the restaurant group from ex-Gordon Ramsay and JKS operations director Simon King, has unveiled its first pub, The Victoria.
The Surrey-based venue is led by King and chef director Matt Larcombe, previously of The Crown at Bray. Larcombe’s menu revolves around ‘refined’ versions of pub classics (think fish and chips with an ‘atomised vinegar spray’), and there’s an extensive drinks list, too.
The cocktails were created by Sean Kelly, who worked with King at Danny Meyer’s Union Square Hospitality Group in New York. His serves include High Sea’s Highball, with El Dorado 5 Year Golden Rum, London Essence Roasted Pineapple Soda and candied ginger, and Garden Tonic, a mix of vodka, elderflower cordial, cloudy apple juice, Indian tonic and rosemary.
Insomnia Espresso Martini Bar, Edinburgh
Coffee cocktail-focused bar Insomnia has opened the doors to its Edinburgh outpost, building on the concept of its original venue in Glasgow.
Tucked away in the Assembly Rooms on George Street, the caffeinated drinking den claims to have the largest range of Espresso Martinis in Scotland, and its team aims to offer 50 versions of the drink by the end of the year.
Its current selection includes the House Espresso Martini, with Belvedere vodka, cold brew espresso, maple syrup and Kahlúa coffee liqueur, and the Piña Cortada, which mixes Tanqueray Gin, pineapple syrup, fresh espresso and coconut milk.
And if you’re picky about your espresso, never fear: Insomnia’s coffee is organic, sourced from a single farm in Colombia, and roasted entirely in-house.
Le Magritte, London
Mayfair hotel The Beaumont has relocated and revamped its Le Magritte bar.
Recently appointed bar manager Antonino Lo Iacono, a veteran of Mark’s Club, oversees the cocktail programme, which has a 1920s New York-inspired theme and a strong focus on American whiskey.
The centrepiece of the 30-cover drinking den is its granite-topped, leather-edged bar, which stands in front of a painting by Belgian artist René Magritte, the venue’s namesake.
Le Magritte also features a new terrace overlooking Brown Hart Gardens. It continues the 1920s theme with rattan armchairs and tables styled after the era, and serves up food and drinks throughout the day.