Calling all Londoners; I've had a sneak preview of Mr Fogg's,
the newest bar in town. And it's good.
Tucked down a lane off Berkeley Square, the new watering hole
was for years a somewhat dodgy Irish pub. That was until Charlie
Gilkes and Duncan Stirling (whose Inception Group also owns Chelsea
speakeasy Barts, 80s themed nightclub Maggie's and Battersea
pizzeria Bunga Bunga), started bombarding the owners with calls to
buy the plot. Testament to the boys' tenacity - after a year they
got the keys. Six months later and Mr Fogg's will be flinging it's
doors open from 21st May.
Now I like a theme, but Charlie Gilkes has taken his love of
Jules Verne's novel to a whole new level. The bar is how Gilkes
imagines Phileas Fogg's Mayfair drawing room to look following his
'Round the World in 80 days' tripette. So from the (fake) blue
plaque on the façade above a Victorian lantern, you enter a late
C19th world with non-stop jokes; a sign that reads 'Beware of the
Parrot', Phileas' 'crest' sandblasted onto martini glasses, lamps
fashioned from rifle butts, a parrot cage chandelier and a portrait
of Pongo his pet monkey.
"I like the idea that however many times someone comes here,
they'll always spot a new Fogg reference," says Gilkes, whilst
readjusting a (fake) elephant's foot stool.
Unlike the swathe of new Mayfair bars, Mr Fogg's is not members
only. So whoever you are, get there early to bag the best seat
beneath the hot air balloon for a Gin Fizz served in a world globe,
delivered by a waiter in full military uniform (courtesy of Gieves
and Hawkes), under the watchful eye of 'Bacchanologist' and former
bar manager at The Connaught, Mark Jenner. And of course Phileas
Fogg's faithful valet, Passepartout.
Mr Fogg's, 15 Bruton Lane, London W1J 6JD