Bars

London-Bars

So apparently it’s National Margarita Day today, which means I cannot let this Friday end without a post on Chelsea’s very own tequila bar, Tonteria.

TonteriaLocated in a basement on Sloane Square, Tonteria is a must-go for all tequila fans. My first visit was with a tequila aficionado from Mexico, so she knew exactly what she was looking for. I, on the other hand, am not such an expert on tequila brands but having tried a fair amount of margaritas around the world in my time I consider my tastebuds well-trained. 😉

TonteriaThe tequila menu at Tonteria is long; I hadn’t realised there was so much to tequila. But in the end, my friend and I decided on her favourite tipple, Don Julio, which we didn’t knock back as a shot. Instead we sipped the tequila as if we were savouring a fine whiskey; that’s how it’s done in Mexico.

Tequila at TonteriaThe margarita menu also spoils you for choice and I can wholeheartedly recommend trying something from it. The margaritas we tried had the right balance of flavours and bite.

Margarita at TonteriaA railway track also runs around the ceiling of the bar, delivering tequila shots to tables of which there are a few. But there aren’t so many tables that you could just walk in and nab one, unless it’s obviously a quiet night. So I would recommend booking a table, especially if you want to grab a seat and try Tonteria’s food menu. After around 10pm, the bar/restaurant turns into club when the tequila vibe takes on a whole other meaning, the Sloane Square way.

Happy National Margarita Day! *clink!*

I am so excited about writing this post – one just for the ladies! If you fancy feeling spoiled for an afternoon and spending quality time with your girlfriends, then you must read on.

Bar Galante Sunday Sanctuary with Bliss SpaThe venue is Bar Galante, which some of you may know is one of my favourite bars in Chelsea and this free women-only event includes treatments from Bliss Spa, who are normally located across the road. You can see their front door from the bar if you sit by one of the windows.

When you arrive, you receive a pair of slippers which you can wear in the bar (a lot of girls did) as well as a goodie bag with Bliss products.

Bilss Spa Goodie BagDuring the afternoon, the Bliss staff are on hand to provide massages and manicures with Essie polish.

Bliss Spa Massage at Bar Galante

Bliss Spa Manicure This is the colour I picked.

Bliss Spa ManicureAnd as well as these spa treatments, there are screens placed around the bar with films playing …

Bar Galante - TV Screen… which you can listen to with the headphones provided. They showed Friends With Benefits and a Ryan Reynolds movie (sorry, I’m not sure what it’s called). In other words, a chick flick and eye candy were provided. 😉

Bar Galante Sunday SanctuaryWhen you arrive at the bar, you also receive a free champagne cocktail. And thereafter, there is a special Sunday Sanctuary cocktail menu which you can order from. The cocktails include Classic Bellini; Breakfast Martini; and Bloody Mary Martini (£10-£12), as well as non-alcoholic cocktails such as Strawberry & Basil Lemonade; Green Martini and Berry Blast (£4.25). I also saw groups of friends order bottles of wine between them. And if you’re feeling peckish, there is also a bar snack menu to order food from.

Bar Galante - CocktailsSome ladies were sitting around and chatting whilst others sat back and watched the movies. Others were enjoying their spa treatments, either listening to the music playing in the bar or whilst watching a film with their headphones on. The whole atmosphere was very chilled and indulgent. In other words it really was the best way to spend a Sunday afternoon in February.

If you’re interested in booking a table for you and your girlfriends, all you have to do is email RSVP@BARGALANTE.COM. There are two time slots: 1pm and 3pm and like I said, this is a free event. So I just have to ask, what’s stopping you? 😉

Last week I was invited to take a look around the recently opened The Wellesley Hotel in Knightsbridge. I had popped in a few months ago when it was just a building site and I was very excited to return, to see the end result.

But before I take you on a tour with my photos, let me give you some interesting facts about the hotel. They’ll explain why I think this place is pretty special.

Each guest staying at this 36-room boutique hotel will have complimentary use of The Wellesley’s Rolls Royce for journeys within two miles of the area. Guests will also receive 24-hour butler service, Samsung tablets in their rooms and a Wellesley mobile phone to use whilst staying at the hotel.

When you walk into the building the first thing to hit you is the sumptuous art deco interior, of which I am a huge fan.

The Wellesley HotelTo your right you have The Crystal Bar, which houses an impressive array of cognac (some dating back to the 1770s), whiskies and champagne. The 1920s-inspired cocktails list is also very inviting.

The Wellesley HotelThe bar leads out onto an outdoor terrace with gorgeous leather seats. This isn’t a place you would want to leave in a hurry.

The Wellesley HotelAcross the corridor, in the hotel, is the Cigar Lounge and Terrace. And if you know any cigar fans, you might have to let them know that The Wellesley houses the largest bespoke hotel humidor in Europe and the biggest collection of cigars sold on a stick-by-stick basis in the world.

The Wellesley - Smoking Room

The Wellesley HotelI stepped into the humidor and whilst I don’t know too much about cigars, I do recognise an impressive collection when I see one.

The Wellesley HotelSome of the boxes which store the cigars were impressive in their own right and I could imagine a cigar aficionado having plenty of fun browsing this collection.

The Wellesley HotelAfter a look around, we stopped into the Oval Restaurant for lunch. With seating for 28 diners, I loved the intimacy of this venue as well the design.

The Wellesley HotelThe Italian menu inspired by seasonal ingredients was also a real delight to try.

For starters, I chose the roasted vegetable salad with goats cheese.

The Wellesley HotelFor main I had the pappardelle with wild boar.

The Wellesley HotelAnd for dessert, I had to try the apple tart with Armagnac ice cream.

The Wellesley HotelNeedless to say, attention to detail was integral to the presentation of these dishes. But the pleasures of lunch didn’t end there. The flavours and the quality of the fresh ingredients also elevated lunch to a more delectable level, which was topped off by these sweet offerings at the end.

The Wellesley HotelUnfortunately for me but fortunately for the hotel the bedrooms and suites were occupied, so I couldn’t take any photos this time round. But here is a photograph of one of the rooms, from my last visit – to give you some idea.

The Wellesley HotelAnd whilst I have no immediate reason to check into this hotel, I am intrigued by their jazz bar where Afternoon Tea is also served. The previous venue on this site was the legendary Pizza On The Park where some of the most revered jazz musicians have played. So it seems only fitting that The Wellesley Hotel would want to continue the musical legacy of this location by showcasing both established and up-and-coming acts in their Jazz Room. And that is exactly what they are doing. To find out more, have a look at The Wellesely’s website. This is truly a gorgeous hotel.

So it’s January and you’re trying to be good and keep it dry. But it’s getting boring and these gloomy days are not helping. Sorry this isn’t the most optimistic introduction to my cocktails post but the permanent tinge of grey in the morning sky is really starting to become tedious and I cannot wait for spring to arrive!

For me the best way to beat the winter blues is through plenty of exercise for those endorphin hits and keeping my body fuelled with lots of fruit and vegetables. But you don’t have to live the life of a saint to keep feeling good. After all, booze has medicinal purposes too. It’s been at least a couple of years since I’ve felt fluey for more than 24 hours thanks to the ‘nipping it in the bud’ approach of two hot toddies before bedtime. It never fails.

But back to January. From 7th of this month until 10th February 2013, The Botanist will be serving up a range of cocktails designed for balanced goodness. They include (with benefits):

Lemon Aid, which is a blend of apricot-infused Tanqueray and white tea syrup. Apricots are rich in potassium, known to oxygenate the brain and stimulate the kidneys whilst white tea syrup is found to lower cholesterol and decrease blood pressure.

Green Business involves a mix of vodka; fresh cucumber; basil; and spirulina powder. Spirulina powder is a dietary supplement rich in B12 which protects the liver from toxic substances and helps build more red blood cells.

Hazy Days involves a blitz of Tanqueray gin; green apple liqueur; fresh ginger; and the superfood sun-dried goji berries. Goji berries are packed with more vitamin C than oranges, more iron than steak and more beta-carotene than a carrot whilst fresh Ginger helps alleviate cold and flu symptoms.

The Botanist Cocktail
The cocktails are £8.50 each and don’t forget there is also The Botanist’s food bar menu. The soft shell burger is sooo good! Enjoy! x
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