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It looks as if it’s been around as long as London’s oldest restaurant itself, but this wood-panelled, mock-Balmoral baronial fantasy was but a lowly storeroom until the early years of the 21st century. Although its legendary instigator, Brian Silva, is now shaking his stuff at Balthazar, Rules’ upstairs bar is in safe hands and remains on every discerning bon viveur’s list of fallback options. Order 20th-century classics and modern prescriptions such as Kate Middleton’s Royal 29 (Sipsmith, Pinky vodka, Lillet, crystallised violets and rose petals) or stick to The Rules (Tanqueray 10 gin, Dubonnet and vintage crémant de Bourgogne). Otherwise bag a buckshot bullshot (as served on shoot day at Rules owners’ High Pennines estate) or rediscover fine fixes, sours, cups and crustas that would have been familiar to the toffs of Downton Abbey.

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  1. Just a casual stroll from the frenzy that is Covent Garden piazza, there exists an oasis of calm sophistication and old school opulence; Rules is London’s oldest restaurant, famous for it’s game and classic British fare. It is also, arguably, London’s best cocktail bar.
    Upstairs is where the ‘mixology’ magic happens - here you’ll find cosy carpeting, heavy upholstery, original fireplaces, wood paneling and lots of red. There is a definite time capsule feel to the decor but, come Christmas, it’s got to be one of the most festive places to indulge in an artfully muddled cocktail...
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