In contrast to the opulent Grill Room, the refurbished Café Royal’s second lounge/bar is a less OTT option, with (relatively) scaled-down prices: £14 buys pisco sour and pink lady among a cast of familiars, while the selection entitled ‘something new’ offers the ‘unexpected’ (a cousin of mint julep involving Evan Williams bourbon and apple). Champagne cocktails include moonwalk made with Mandarine Napoléon, orange flower water and grapefruit bitters, while absinthe fountains announce the presence of heady sips such as le jardin. Otherwise, order wine from £8 a glass and snack on anything from popcorn chicken and peanuts or tiger prawns with Marie-Rose sauce to salmon sashimi, cheese plates, charcuterie and caviar. All monochromatic art-deco lines and subtle neon flash, the disco-dark space is dominated by a butch, gunmetal horseshoe bar that suggests the bow of a 1930s frigate.
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