The streets of London may not be paved with gold, but a real gem of a tavern has arrived in the heart of the West End. Based on the adventures of Jules Vernes fictional explorer, Phileas Fogg, Mr Fogg’s Tavern has an upstairs downstairs theatrical theme with a Victorian tavern on the ground floor and a refined gin parlour and salon upstairs. The sister venue to award-winning Mayfair bar, Mr Fogg’s, the tavern is the eighth project from Charlie Gilkes and Duncan Stirling’s Inception Group, whose venues are well loved by Londoners for their conceptual themes.
Whilst traversing the globe on his Around The World in 80 Days adventure, Phileas Fogg receives the sombre news that his much beloved aunt and celebrated actress, Gertrude Fogg, has passed away and made Mr Fogg the sole beneficiary of her estate, including her enchanting pied- à-terre on St Martin’s Lane. Duty bound to honour his aunts dying wish, Mr Fogg permits her devoted life-long housekeeper, Fanny McGee, to create a tavern for her friends and theatrical acquaintances downstairs, whilst keeping the upstairs salon as a much needed refuge for himself and friends.
The downstairs space features a warm wooden interior with nineteenth century artifacts adorning the walls and hanging from the ceiling, a focal point being a large aviary filled with plants, stuffed birds and other oddities. Staff in traditional overalls serve up real ales, batch brews, mothers ruin gin cocktails and grog in traditional tankards and pewter cups. Weary travellers can tuck into honest fare served throughout the day and evening including, in Auguste Escoffier’s opinion, ‘The Best Pie in London Town’ served with traditional liquor, alongside roast game, fowl and beast. There’s also an array of salted, smoked and preserved meats as well as freshly caught sea dishes and local vegetables, sourced daily from the market or foraged from the wild.
With a separate entrance for ladies and gentleman to enter discreetly, the upstairs Gin Parlour and Salon is just as the lauded actress left it, with a large cabinet displaying her antique theatrical props, wigs and old scripts. The Salon features Aunt Gertrudes ornate glass chandeliers, damask curtains and bijoux objects. To make himself feel more at home, Mr Fogg has added some of his souvenirs from around the globe, with stuffed animals, annotated maps and worldly treasures.
Mr Fogg’s immaculately turned out staff greet visitors on arrival with a refined section of gin, tonics and botanicals lining every inch of wall space in the Gin Parlour. Moving into the Salon, guests are then served punch, the Victorian tipple of choice, in authentic silver punch bowls, alongside an array of cocktails inspired by the nineteenth century.
Inception Group co-founder Charlie Gilkes says of the latest venture: “We are thrilled to add a second venue to Mr Fogg’s household and so pleased that Londoners have taken Phileas to their hearts as much as we have. We look forward to taking guests on a journey upstairs, downstairs and around the world again!”