Mark Ludmon finds an oasis of calm and creative cocktails in the heart of London’s Mayfair
The narrow alley of Lancashire Court in London’s West End is often bustling with people, eating and drinking outside bars such as Hush and Mews of Mayfair. James Robson, owner of Mews and the neighbouring Mayfair Pizza Co, has now created an escape from the hurly burly with classic-style cocktail bar Cartizze.
Its name is taken from the area in northern Italy where prosecco comes from, and the bar is a good place to enjoy the sparkling wine, whether in cocktails or on draught from the Frizzenti tap. The small dishes are also inspired by the Italian aperitivo tradition, with options such as hand-dived Orkney Isles scallops and smoked pancetta in brioche buns.
Italian flavours also influence the cocktails created by award-winning bartender Richard Woods (pictured), head of spirit and cocktail development at Duck & Waffle in the City. One of the signature drinks is the refreshing Olive Oil Gin Fizz, made with Portobello Road gin, lemon verbena, fresh lime juice, egg white and olive oil plus a spritz of prosecco.
Alongside Italian classics such as a Negroni and a Bellini, twists include the Amor Y Amargo, based on an Amaretto Sour, mixing Cynar artichoke liqueur and apricot liqueur with Disaronno, lemon juice, egg white, vanilla sugar and prosecco, plus grated tonka bean on top.
Richard continues to work with the bar team to develop house-made ingredients including their own liqueurs as well as a carbonated cocktail that is to be available on tap. They are also barrel-ageing cocktails such as a Negroni in the basement, transferring it to smaller barrels on the bar in the style of solera ageing. Lockers are available for guests to store spirits and liqueurs bought from the Locker List and The Connoisseur’s Collection, a selection of spirits dating back to the 1800s.
Drinks are served in vintage glassware that James has collected over the years, filling the back-bar shelving so that spirits are stored in cupboards underneath. There is also a fantastic range of cocktail shakers from the 1920s to the 1950s. “Cartizze is a real passion project,” James says. “The care I’ve taken in collecting beautiful glassware from some of my favourite places in the world reflects the lengths the whole team have gone to to create a unique and intimate drinking den.”
The elegant, timeless interior was created by Fabled Studio, whose other projects include Beagle in Hoxton, east London. It features lilac dip-dyed oak panelling as well as stools and banquettes in soft lilac and blue leathers, inspired by the lilac notes in the flavour of Cartizze prosecco. There is also a Nero Marquina marble fireplace and artwork commissioned by Simone Webb. The atmosphere is completed by a music playlist from the 1920s and 1930s.
Open from 5pm to 11pm, the 60-cover bar is for seated guests only, points out manager Eric MacDonald who has joined from Berners Tavern at the London Edition hotel. “We want to keep it civilised and different from the other busy bars around here.”
Cartizze, 4 Lancashire Court London W1S 1EY
Click here to see the latest news stories from Barmagazine.co.uk