Blink and you might miss it – the entrance to The Light Lounge on Newport Street, just around the corner and upstairs from the iconic Ku Bar on Lisle Street, and that would be a real shame. This is a sophisticated cocktail bar, taking its name from the generous amount of day light streaming through the windows. The décor is muted and elegant with splashes of colour provided by modern art and brightly coloured bar chairs, making it a perfect oasis to relax and escape the hustle and bustle outside with.
Opened only last year, its location just off Leicester Square and Charing Cross Road, not far from Covent Garden, is perfect for pre-dinner or pre-theatre & cinema cocktails as the a have the #LightHour (5pm-7pm) with 2 for 1 on offer on a range of cocktails, and the menu changing monthly, and you can always come back for more after you have had your dose of culture or finished your Crispy Chinese Duck.
Grab a seat in one of the booths by the windows (perfect for people watching!) or pull up a chair to the bar and watch the talented bartenders at work.
The new summer cocktail menu, which we had been invited to sample, has been curated by Andy Mil of The Cocktail trading Company, UK Winner of World Class 2012, provides enough choices for everybody to find a favourite drink. But I suggest you try a few, because they are all very good.
My first cocktail was a Nuclear Pina, a Pina Colada on steroids with several different rums and green chartreuse. I loved it.
G started with the Boulevardier, the Light Lounge take on a Negroni, with bourbon, Campari and sweet vermouth. He thought it was excellent and we ordered another one half way through the evening.
I then tried Catrina’s Kiss, a margarita with a chilli kick. Very enjoyable, especially when you are trying to get over a cold.
G couldn’t resist trying the Death Flip, a heady mix of tequila, yellow chartreuse, Jagermeister, finished off with a whole egg and a splash of salt water and served with milk chocolate fingers. He really liked it, for me it had a bit too much Jagermeister in it.
I also had the Pisco and Pear Sour, which was delicious. The pisco, pear liqueur and puree with lemon juice and egg white worked very well together.
We also tried the Bianchissimo, one of the cocktails from the 2-4-1 menu, a refreshing long drink made from vodka, peach, lychee, Martini Bianco, cranberry and lemon. The perfect summer drink.
Last, but not least, we had the After-Midnight, a variation on the Grashopper, made with Baileys, chocolate & mint liqueurs and milk, served with an After Eight chocolate. Creamy, minty, delicious!
The cocktails we did not get around to are the Delicious Sour (calvados, crème de peche, lemon juice, egg white), Easy Street ( gin, elderflower, lemon, cucumber), Heartbreaker (gin, lychee liqueur, lemon juice, cucumber syrup and plum bitters), the Kammerling Spritz (Kamm and Sons, elderflower, soda and prosecco) and the Tropical Ireland (Irish whiskey, crème de fique, pear puree and lemon juice).
Of course you can always opt for one of the premium beers or wines or treat yourself to a glass of house fizz, Ruinart Champagne.
We also got to meet the founder and owner of Ku Group, Gary Henshaw. Gary is a charming and easy going Irish man from Dublin, who learned his trade in Copenhagen, where he became the Assistant Manager of the bohemian nightclub Pan, and in Ibiza, where he opened a successful bar called Catwalk in the Old Town. Since coming to London in 1990, he has steadily built his Ku Group ‘empire’, with its many London venues serving the LGBT community, but welcoming everybody through its doors. His latest venture, The Light Lounge,opened last year and was already voted ‘ Best New Venue Covent Garden’ by the public through Design my Night and recently picked as one of the ‘5 Best Bars for a Date’ by Quintessentially London.
So, if you find yourself in the vicinity, bring a date or not, but do pop in and try one of the cocktails. Or make it two or three. They really are all excellent.
1 Newport Place
London WC2H 7JR
Monday to Thursday 5pm to 11.30pm, Fridays and Saturdays 5pm to midnight.
You can also hire the bar, which has a capacity for 100 people, or part of it, for private functions, so if you are looking for a central spot for a birthday do or a Christmas party, this is great.