The Lost Alhambra is bringing even more theatre and fun to London’s West End. Zoe Fryday reports
The Adventure Bar Group is famous for its dazzling, concept-led venues, including Tonight Josephine, Bar Elba and Blame Gloria. The latest addition to the collection, The Lost Alhambra, is no exception. Situated in London’s buzzing Leicester Square, on the original site of the notorious Alhambra Theatre, which first opened its doors in 1854, the new late-night bar offers drinks, dancing, debauchery and more. It’s unequivocally Instagrammable, with unique, flamboyant interiors and showstopping cocktails.
Once described as the greatest place of infamy in all of London, the Alhambra Theatre had a reputation for extraordinary nights out. World-class ballerinas took to the stage in the 1800s, and rumour has it that once they had finished performing, the leading ladies would descend underground to a secret bar and party into the early hours of the morning – flirting, eating oysters and drinking champagne.
After it was lost in a fire in 1882, the site was rebuilt but eventually demolished in 1936 to become the Odeon Theatre. Now, nearly 100 years later, it has been resurrected to offer the ultimate after-party once more. “We’re providing a fantastic night out for our guests, with a focus on great company, great drinks, great tunes and a great atmosphere that they’ll want to return to time and time again,” says general manager Lee Ramskill. “We found a brilliant location that was being really underutilised. After some historical research, we uncovered the story of the Alhambra Theatre and realised a brilliant concept could be built around it. Whether our guests are relaxing and catching up with friends during happy hour or dancing until 3am to their favourite tunes, we’ve got all bases covered. The light-up dancefloor ceiling, mirrored walls and gorgeous cocktails all guarantee an amazing night, and after all, not all those who wander are lost.”
“The Lost Alhambra is premium, distinctive and diverse – an Instagrammable cocktail bar that offers a great night out.”
In keeping with the cinematic history of Leicester Square, guests of the newly- revived venue are led down a black and white Escher-inspired staircase before stepping into the world of technicolour in the vivid main bar, with psychedelic floors, mirrored walls, plush furnishings and neon signage. The story extends to the bathrooms, where a theatrical voice- over reads a passage about the infamy and debauchery of the original underground bar, which shocked visitors to central London over a hundred years ago.
The eccentric design scheme was created by the team at Finch Interiors, who approached Solus to provide eye- catching tiling for different areas of the establishment. “The Lost Alhambra is a truly unique and quirky bar that attracts revellers who want to let their hair down and have a bit of fun,” states Solus’ area sales manager Darrell Cook. “Therefore, it was really important that the whole of the project – from the floor to the ceiling – reflected its buoyant, hedonistic character. Whenever I work with the team at Finch, we always discuss the Instagram-worthy features – that’s what designers and their clients really strive to achieve – and tiles are often the focal point.” Solus’ dusty pink and baby blue terrazzo tile positively pops with colour while the vibrant red of Hyndland catches the eye and the softer blush tones of Gallowgate create a more relaxed vibe.
The Lost Alhambra serves an assortment of premium drinks, including over 100 bespoke cocktails offering quirky twists on the classics. Guests can indulge in the rich, moreish Velvet Revolver, combining Courvoisier VS, red wine, strawberry jam, Angostura bitters, lemon juice and cranberry juice, or try the grand Backstage Cobbler, made with Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Whiskey, sherry, pineapple, lemon and orange bitters. Lee points out: “Our signatures are the Razzle Dazzle, featuring Eristoff vodka, passion fruit liqueur, peach schnapps, triple sec, lemon juice, egg white, with a trademark glitter ‘Gest Lost’ stencilled top, and the Pisco Inferno, which is served up in its own mirrored disco ball.”
A selection of ‘Dress Rehearsal’ non- alcoholic concoctions are also available. Examples from the list include the Matinée Bohemian Raspberry, a mix of Strykk Not Vodka, raspberry, cranberry, fresh basil and pink grapefruit, and the Matinée Elderflower Collins, blending Ceder’s Crisp Non-Alcoholic Spirit, cucumber, lemon juice, elderflower cordial, fresh mint and soda. Those looking for a light bite can browse the artisan food menu, which features dishes from Dip & Flip, including a cheeseburger topped with a gravy-dipped slice of roast beef, cabbage slaw and pickles on a toasted brioche bun, as well as signature wings and loaded fries.
According to Lee, The Lost Alhambra has been a raging success since it flung open
its pink doors in October 2019. Party-loving patrons are lapping up events such as late-night Lost Disco on Fridays. What’s more, following her successful West End run of Everybody’s Talking About Jamie, and after wowing the nation on Season 1 of Ru Paul’s Drag Race UK, Vinegar Strokes will be joining The Lost Alhambra for its very first Drag Me To Brunch event in February, with bingo, music, comedy and games. “The bar is thriving alongside well-established brands in central London and our sister bars such as Tonight Josephine and Blame Gloria. “The Lost Alhambra is premium, distinctive and diverse – an Instagrammable cocktail bar that offers a great night out.”
The Lost Alhambra, 28a Leicester Square, London, WC2H 7LE
Behind the scenes
Interior design: Finch Interiors
Flooring: Ege Carpets
Light-up dancefloor ceiling: Halo
Fixed seating and furniture: Borne Interiors
Staircase artwork: Blackheart Creative
Branding and merchandise artwork: Junction Studio
Originally published in the February 2020 print edition of Bar magazine.