Criterion (bar)

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Negotiating the tourist hordes encamped around Eros pays dividends: cupid’s arrows score a direct hit at Criterion, & few can resist its cool marbled halls, where gold mosaic shimmers like an Ottoman palace at dusk. In one of London’s most grandiose rooms, an equally grand Champagne daisy seems apposite. A list of classics from £9.50 includes a selection conceived by Leo Engel, the venue’s original sip-smith. Consider Criterion coffee punch, vodka & Goldschläger-based Piccadilly laced with apple juice & cream or reviver (a Famous Grouse Collins). Bar snacks & a dozen wines by the glass are part of the plot in an intriguing destination that, like its celebrated fictional patron Sherlock Holmes, demands investigation. Points off for prosaic seating, however: such a dazzling room deserves better.


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