The K Bar

Oozing elegance and exclusivity, The K Bar at the Kensington Hotel is London’s next upcoming destination bar. Adrian Gonzalez Parrondo, Bar Manager of The K Bar, tells us more about West London’s hidden gem, sharing details of the team’s immaculate approach to providing guests a quality, yet home-from-home, experience. 


Please tell us about The K Bar, detailing more about the concept and approach.

The K Bar is the main and only bar at The Kensington Hotel. It’s a gorgeous cocktail bar with a cosy,sophisticated ambience. It gets quite dark in the evenings, providing a relaxing atmosphere where guests “feel at home.” It’s reminiscent of a living room in your house, the perfect little spot to sit down and have a drink in the evenings. 

We want all our guests to have a memorable experience filled with “wow” moments. The essence of The K Bar lies in creating these unforgettable narratives during every visit. 

Talk us through the bar’s drinks menu; what was the inspiration behind this?

We wanted to create a brilliant new cocktail menu that would provide a memorable guest experience. When Jonatan Bou Guardiola, our Head Bartender, the team and myself, were brainstorming ideas, I looked down at one of our tables and saw my reflection, which is what ultimately inspired the menu. 

Our innovative “Reflections” cocktail menu is presented in a sleek black jewellery box. As guests open the box, they discover a menu of 16 cocktails reflected off a mirror inside. It’s a playful way to present the menu and invites guests into a mysterious world, enhancing a sense of discovery. Each drink reflects stories from different eras, countries, cultures and customs that contribute to a memorable guest experience. We take great pride in using our own house-made picklings, sherbets, bitters and infused liqueurs in each of the cocktails. 

Please tell us more about the bar’s décor and furnishings; how does this cosy, yet high-end space, elevate the guest experience and parallel the exceptional serves?

The ambience of The K Bar is set by its elegant décor – the oak panels, polished brass accents, mirrored walls and slate floor lend a strong sophisticated feel that is matched by the creative and classic cocktails mixed by our passionate team. There is an air of an exclusive modern gentlemen’s club, with sumptuous leather panels, a green marble bar, reflective antique mirrored tabletops and deep-buttoned, velvet upholstered seating, perfect for sinking into for a long, leisurely evening. 

Every element and ingredient reflect our dedication to global flavours and innovative techniques. When guests come to The K Bar, for us, it’s truly about providing that “wow experience” for them. We want everything to contribute to that – from the ambience and décor to the hospitable, friendly service and, of course, the exceptional cocktails. We really champion sustainability and ingenuity – from fat-washing spirits with truffle oil, harnessing centrifuges for texture transformations, fermenting different fruits, to experimenting with different preservation methods – we do our very best to push the boundaries of mixology to provide our guests the ultimate experience. 

What have been the key elements to the venue’s success? 

The cornerstone of our success is unwavering consistency and a commitment to elevating the everyday experience for our guests. We understand that a bar visit is a moment of indulgence, and our mission is to deliver this with excellence every single time. It’s not just about serving a drink, it’s about crafting an experience, ensuring that each guest feels uniquely celebrated. It’s all about how you make people feel, and it’s so important to us to make each guest feel special and go the extra mile to make sure they have a memorable experience. If the guests keep coming back, it means you’re doing something right! 

How do you stay current and up-to-date with trends in an ever-changing industry?

We stay ahead by engaging with global trends, from Instagram insights to industry publications, like Bar Magazine (of course!). We now live in a world where everyone is sharing what they are doing; mixologists around the world are pushing the boundaries with incredible new techniques and unique garnishes; everyone is your mentor. 

We also learn so much from chefs. Chefs are hugely knowledgeable about different techniques that we can also incorporate into our cocktail-making. Every technique that a bartender uses has come from a chef. We love collaborating with our chefs at The Kensington to brainstorm some amazing ideas for our cocktails. They have helped us create some stand-out garnishes for the cocktails and have taught us some new techniques to really take the cocktails up a notch. 

We are also noticing a lot of new brands and venues offering low alcohol and non-alcoholic drinks; a large part of the younger generation, 18–25-year-olds, have stopped drinking and have adopted a ‘mindful’ approach to drinking. We take this into consideration when creating our cocktail menus so that we appeal to everyone’s preferences. 

What advice would you give to fellow bars looking to provide an exceptional experience for guests?

Firstly, never underestimate the power of a smile. Positivity is contagious. Remember the power of a genuine smile and impeccable service. It’s about the atmosphere, the attentiveness and the personal touches that transform a visit into a lasting memory. 

Service is of the utmost importance. You can have the best drink in the world, but if the service is a letdown, it can sour the entire experience. If the service is poor, guests will not return, no matter how good the drink is. 

We believe that guests need to be looked after entirely when they are with us. As soon as somebody walks through the door, they need to be greeted and seen to. When guests leave, we ensure that we say, “see you soon, thank you very much”, and we leave it open ended. 

The music is also a very important element of the guest experience. If you can hear the guests more than the music, there is an issue. The music helps set the tone for the evening and gets guests into a great mood. 

Please tell us the bar’s short and long-term goals.

In the long-term, our vision is for The K Bar to become a destination bar in London. We know that there is a lot of competition, but we would love for people from all over the world to say, “I’ll meet you at the K Bar in London.” 

In the short-term, our focus remains on impressing every guest and nurturing our team – they are the heartbeat of our operation, without them we are nothing. At the end of the day, we want to ensure that everyone – guests and our team – is having a good time. That’s what it’s all about. Positivity is contagious! 

As we continue to innovate, our goal is to see a line out the door of enthusiasts eager to experience our groundbreaking Reflections menu. 

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