Zoe Fryday explores The Mezzanine, Stratford’s new premium night spot
Tucked away inside glamorous 24-storey skyscraper The Stratford is a chic new cocktail bar, The Mezzanine, and it’s bringing a touch of Mayfair to east London. The warm, opulent venue offers a space for hotel guests, long-term residents and locals alike to meet and mingle. Stunning interiors and exquisite food and drink fuse together to create a bespoke, luxurious home from home feel.
The bar is overseen by general manager Elias Yiallouris and bar manager Enrico Gonzato, two industry luminaries who, between them, boast a wealth of five-star hotel experience. An ethos of elegance, creativity and meticulous attention to detail is reflected through top-quality service and refined, super-stylish drinks. “The Mezzanine focuses on the timeless simplicity of putting control back into guests’ hands,” explains Elias. “It’s a luxurious option – the first sophisticated, late-night offering in the emerging area of Stratford.”
Designed by Space Copenhagen, the Scandinavian duo behind Noma, the space is centred on a large statement fireplace and balcony overlooking the hotel’s triple-height lobby. Tasteful handcrafted furniture, bespoke lighting fixtures and plush, velvety fabrics delight and intrigue, projecting a nostalgic feel of old member’s club exclusivity but with a clean, contemporary finish.
The venue’s unparalleled air of sophistication is balanced with a relaxed, mellow ambience. Guests of The Mezzanine can perch at the long, illuminated bar and chat to the talented bartenders as they sip on a super-chilled Manhattan or punchy Margarita, or unwind in a comfortable low- level sofa. Although the room is open-plan, there are many different areas to explore, which offer different perspectives. DJs play from Thursday through to Saturday, 9pm until late to get people into the post-work, weekend spirit.
As you pursue the drinks menu, you’re transported to 1800s New York, known as the ‘Golden Era’ of cocktail culture. The emphasis is on the classics, with the team applying all of the twists and techniques expected from modern-day mixology. There is also a firm emphasis on sustainability. The Mezzanine gets as close to zero-waste as possible by creating re-purposed ingredients in its on-site lab.
The list is divided into four sections: Signature Cocktails, a permanent selection of re-imagined classics; Effervescent Cocktails; three lightly-sparkling, flavourful drinks; Euphoric Cocktails; a heady choice of pure indulgence; and Revelatory Cocktails; a discovery of taste and innovation. Guests can try the ‘M’ Martini, which combines a choice of Hepple Gin or Stolichnaya Elit Vodka with homemade champagne distilled bitters – either Chardonnay or Pinot Noir. The bitters are created using the ends of open bottles of sparkling wine, ensuring no drop is wasted, before going through the Rotovap evaporator with their respective grapes for a delicate but accurate representation of the wine’s flavours. The Martini is served chilled in a bottle over ice, accompanied by a selection of stuffed olives. The final touch is a spray of lemon leaf essence.
Those inclined to a whisky tipple can select the decadent Gold Boulevardier, a house blend of scotch and bourbon, macerated with saffron, homemade vanilla bitters and turmeric vermouth. Moving through to ‘Euphoric’, Ro‘Bust’ a Move offers a flavourful mix of Bacardí Ocho Anos Rum, toasted coffee, Islay smoked pineapple skin and bitters, while Jazzy 7, a complex twist on a Daiquiri, sits pride of place within the ‘Revelatory’ section, made with Banks 7 Rum, sweetened pistachio dust, apple and mint steam, Chartreuse Yellow and orange bitters.
The back bar houses an extensive collection of spirits, spanning gin, vodka and tequila through to rum and cognac. “We offer a wide selection of whiskies, including rare liquids from Japan, Scotland and America,” says Elias. “There is also a focus on cask strength and barrel finished spirits, as well as a variety of small production bottles such as Japanese Whiskey Suntory Yamazaky Bourbon Barrel and Karuizawa 1999-2000 Cask Strength.” Guests can also choose from a refined selection of wine and champagne and explore the bar’s light bites, including oysters, truffle goat cheese with toasted beetroot, buttermilk fried chicken and sesame prawn toast.
Elias explains that new venue has been received tremendously so far. “The Mezzanine has been open for a month and we’re already up for accolades, have hosted World’s 50 Best bartender shifts and one of LFW’s coolest brands after parties, JW Anderson. Moving forward, we see The Mezzanine growing into east London’s premium night spot, the obvious choice for those looking for an elevated offering in the area.”
Behind the scenes
Interior design: Space Copenhagen
Furniture: Benchmark Furniture, Gubi, Tradition, Fredericia, Thonet, De La
Lighting: Kalmar Lighting
Fabrics and soft furnishings: Alphenburg Leather, Sorensen Leather, Dedar, Jab, Kvadrat
Drapery: Concept Contract
The Mezzanine, The Stratford, Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, 20 International Way, London, E20 1FD
Originally published in the November 2019 print edition of Bar magazine.