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Archive & Myth opens in London

Jack Sotti has opened a cocktail bar named Archive & Myth under the Hippodrome Casino in London’s Leicester Square.

Archive & Myth
The menu and interiors are inspired by the Hippodrome’s history, with the building constructed in 1898

Bar consultant and mixologist Sotti has operated bars in London, Melbourne and Auckland, and is also a presenter on Channel 4’s Sunday Brunch and a partner at Renais Gin.

The bar is accessed through a password-protected door where guests are led down beneath the casino.

The interior has been masterminded by designer Rachel O’Toole. A bar with counter seating is central to the action, while quieter corners with velvet curtains and upholstered fabric provide more intimacy.

The team found an old storeroom in the venue filled with relics from its past, including a gramophone, which allows guests to create an evening soundtrack from recordings of headliner performances from the Hippodrome’s 124-year history.

Sotti has designed the cocktail programme, which will be overseen by himself and head bartender Laurie Howells (previously of Alma Bar).

These are divided between minor (half-size serves) and major (full-size). Miniature drinks include a mini Martini (Martini Mineraux) made with Renais gin and Chablis wine, and a boozy espresso crema-style creation – presented in a coffee cup – that combines espresso crema with Bacchus Eau De Vie, Amaro Averna, tonka and olive oil vodka, and comes with a biscotti.

Among the full-sized serves, standouts include an Absinthe Frappe with condensed milk, Absinthe Blanche, basil, mint and lime; a Tequila Negroni, named the Rosita, which adds choux pastry-washed vermouth, Campari and a touch of saline to Tequila blanco for a floral and bittersweet taste; and Sotti’s personal favourite, the Rapscallion, which features Scotch, vermouth and rock salt and is served with a black olive filled with house-made ricotta.

The Rapscallion

To complement the drinks, a menu of Hong Kong-inspired dishes is available from Chop Chop by Four Seasons, the Hippodrome’s Chinese restaurant.

On incorporating the building’s history into the menu and setting, Sotti explained: “The Hippodrome is such a historic building and has been home to all sorts of wonderful shows and live performances since its opening in 1898.

“In the depths of the building was an old storeroom where we found lots of old artefacts stored from event programs, vintage posters for the shows that took place, paintings and artworks and even some dusty old bottles. Each one of those items told a story, an archive of the history of the building, but also held myths of times gone that we can’t prove.

“Based on this we wanted to open a bar that paid tribute to the history, a bar that could have been down here the whole time that we simply spruced up. We’ve brought elements of old artworks, old bottles and some old vinyl recording of past performances into the decor and touch points with our gramophone and vintage spirits.

“With the cocktail menu, it had to read like a classic drinks list with vintage drinks references like Pousse-Café, Absinthe Frappe and Sazerac, but behind the scenes took an innovative approach so we could surprise and delight guests.”

Archive & Myth is open from 6pm to 2am, Wednesday to Saturday.

We recently rounded up 12 of the world’s hottest cocktail bars that opened during spring.

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