It’s not often that a new cocktail bar in Marylebone really gets cocktail lovers and budding mixologists alike excited in agreement. After all there are all already enough bars in the area to chose from. Yet for once, the newly opened Purl seems to have gone against the grain of the modern and bland cocktail bars with which we are so familiar, instead seeking inspiration from the gritty and underground elements found cocktail bar’s unique history.
Dickensian gin houses and prohibition-era speakeasies immediately spring to mind in this discreet basement hangout tucked neatly a popular daytime cafe. With the scent of a clandestine den expect dim lighting, chandeliers, fireplaces, secretive alcoves, exposed brick walls and to top it all off, the sexiest of jazz music.
Contrary to the vintage drinking era that Purl typifies, the cocktail list is an ever-evolving mixture of classics and forward thinking sensory peculiarities. Word back from Purl’s quickly formed fans say that it’s all about the molecular approach to creating cocktails. Expect dry ice that floats across the bar, foams, caviar, homemade infusions, home-aged bitters, ice carvings, and even liquid nitrogen.
Highlights include the Champagne and Caviar drink made with tiny balls of homemade mango and pine caviar all bouncing around in a glass of Veuve Clicquot brut and the surreptitious sounding Little Moscow, made with Smirnoff Black, Fresh Lime and Ginger Beer.
The name Purl comes from a nineteenth century beverage that was commonly sold on the streets of London. Consisting of warm ale, gin, and spices and fits the drink is in keeping with the bar’s fixation on the late nineteenth century’s birth of cocktails as well as the pre-prohibition cocktail culture and the art deco period.
Purl is also the sounds that water makes when it flows over rocks. Be sure to add that to your vocabulary next time you ask for a gin and tonic.
It all sounds like a creation from Jekyll and Hyde but Purl has certainly impressed London’s leading cocktail lovers and is well-worth a visit.
Purl, 50-54 Blandford Street, W1U 7HX. Opens 5pm daily.
020 7935 0835