Gillray’s Bar

Bar in London

Cocktail Bar

Gillray’s is a chic and trendy destination bar on London’s Southbank with great views overlooking the London Eye, River Thames and Houses of Parliament.

The bar reopened in April 2012 following a complete refurbishment which saw a tired and dated bar turned into a vibrant and buzzing place to go after work.  I love what they have done with the décor and in particular the bright yellow high backed leather sofas and tall ceiling giving a real sense of space.

Whilst the Bar and adjacent sophisticated Gillray’s Steakhouse stock a good selection of wines - I counted some 27 white wines, 42 reds, 3 rosés and 11 champagnes, it is the gin cocktails that you really want to visit Gillray’s for.

My first visit to the bar pre-refurbishment was in December 2011 to try their Winter Warmer cocktails, which I have to say were superb, so I was eagerly anticipating the new opening.

I believe that they have successfully turned the new bar into a true London destination bar creating a quintessentially English drinking experience.  The bar features some 41 different gins, 39 being English, plus 5 English vodkas and 10 English beers as well as a wonderful collection of cocktails taking you through the ages, designed by the talented bar team.

The bar and restaurant have been named after 18th Century caricaturist James Gillray and the new unique and inspired gin and vodka flavoured cocktails are designed to take you back to the time when James Gillray lived and worked right up to the present day, so you can literally sip your way through the ages and enjoy a very long evening!

To give you just a few examples, the cocktail list starts in 1786 during the Georgian Era with Fashionable Contrasts, which is a combination of marmalade Chase vodka with lime and cranberry juice and soda water.  1803 will tempt you with First Kiss, which is Hendrick’s gin enlivened with peppermint, lemongrass tea tincture, shaken with lime juice and pineapple.  You can then cheerfully drink your way through the Victorian and Edwardian Eras before gliding into Modern Britain and ending up with the Contemporary Era and Gillray’s Molecular Drinks such as their Gunpowder & Smoke Cocktail consisting of Hayman’s 1850 Reserve gin enlivened with Gunpowder green tea tincture, shaken with Rémy Martin VSOP and lime juice topped off with a flame of Lapbroaig whisky.

I recently enjoyed a beautifully prepared and refreshing Rosewater Rickey, which consists of brandy cherries caramelized in a flame of Angostura Bitters with Navy Rum, Berkeley Square gin, fresh lime juice, rose water and rounded off with soda water. It’s a work of art!

Bar Snacks
Gillray’s also serve some good ol’ traditional English bar snacks such as Cumberland Pigs in Blankets, Soft boiled Surrey Duck Eggs, Hand Raised Melton Mowbray Pork Pie, Highland Venison Sausage Rolls and a selection of sandwiches.

Live Music Evening Every Thursday from 7:30pm
Gillray’s have live jazz music every Thursday evening from 7:30pm which is free for all guests.  On Thursday 9th October young singer-joker-pianist Kate Threlfall from Manchester will be taking centre stage at Gillray’s.

The Verdict
The bar is well worth a visit for the interesting and different cocktails, wonderful location and delightfully friendly staff.

Reviewer's Rating
Ambience Incredible Staff, Elegant, Trendy
Clientele A nice mix of locals, visitors to the city and hotel guests

Additional Ambience Information

Warm, vibrant, trendy, bright and airy with amazing views overlooking The Thames.

Additional Price Comments

Champagne from £14.50 a glass; Wine from £7 a glass, £28 a bottle. Cocktails from £9 to £15. Beers from £6.50. Bar snacks from £8 to £12.

Last updated on 09-10-2014

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