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50-54 Blandford Street
Reviving the illicit jazz-era speakeasy isn’t the most obvious move for bartenders in this postcode, but Purl has been evoking the glam end of clandestine drinking below Blandford Street since 2010. With raw brick, polished leather and aged objets, and alcoves for larger groups, it’s a hip rather than complicated space. All the detail is reserved for the drinks, which smoke, foam and fog out of unusual vessels, and often have a matching edible of some sort served alongside. Is that an old-school camera long lens, or a glass heaped with ice and mixed liquor? Both, of course. Bartenders have a sure mastery of their art and the experience can be captivating for the patient drinker, who is wise to book ahead. If you act on a spontaneous urge for high-class moonshine, you may be turned away. There’s live jazz on Wednesdays, and cocktail masterclasses make an enlivening team activity.
London's best restaurants and bars for dates
Best Marylebone Bars
SquareMeal 2 Stars
50-54 Blandford Street
020 7935 0835
Baker Street Tube Station 502m
Bond Street Tube Station 572m
The Wallace Collection 150m
Dorset Street 183m
Mon-Sat 5-11.30pm (Fri-Sat -12M)
Food & Drink:
Rate & Review
Food + drink: 0
I made a booking through Square meal as I was organising an event and needed an area for 10+ people for the following day at 6.00 pm. I sent a couple of emails and left a voice message, asking them to contact me in order to clarify a few things but they never replied or called me back. As my office is a few blocks away, I decided to pop over and talk to the manager but he wasn’t in today. One of of the staff – who apparently was in charge – was very rude, extremely arrogant and condescending. I decided to cancel my reservation but as I had given my card details and keeping in mind the customer service I had received so far – I asked for a formal confirmation. They are unable to send an email, so I just had to take their word. They were unhelpful and impolite.Truly appalling.
Food + drink: 4
Purl is really my cup of tea, which incidentally, is also the name of my favourite cocktail here: a gin based special, served in a china cup with a peach concoction teabag so you can fool yourself into thinking it isn't a pure spirit drink but really a drink with a mixer. It's not just mother's ruin, it's grandmother's ruin, uncle's ruin, nay, all kith and kin past and future's ruin. I was ruined the next day. My friend had booked out the entire bar for a roaring twenties birthday party on a Saturday night and it was the perfect venue. We descended, all fancydressed up, into the cosy, dark, speakeasy 1920s and lost ourselves in time and booze. Jazz music from a live band gave an era appropriate atmosphere but was best enjoyed with a little distance in the bar area, rather than right next to it in the (even further) downstairs basement arches. The staff, unflappable, moved through the flappers whose flapping increased as the evening wore on to deliver Drunken Monkeys, specially concocted birthday hooch and a variety of cocktails whose explanations with exotic liquors were no more illuminating than the titles themselves, to tables and clutches of those still able to stand, with good grace if not undue haste. Not an easy feat when you have to dodge the specially set up photo-booth too. I'm not a huge fan of those anaemic Frankfurter-based hotdogs but when the platters were passed round deep into the night I gratefully wolfed down a couple; it's not gourmet but it's grub. Of course all this comes at a price (not just physical) when a cocktail is about £10-12 but that's average for an average drink in central London these days and these are no average Gordons & Schweppes. Prohibition and Purl are a marriage made in heaven but I think I'd love this place on any night of the week although I wonder if the doormen are more or less likely to let me in if I wear my outfit again.
Food + drink: 5
Quirky little bar in a quiet location hidden behind the hustle & bustle of Oxford St with an imaginative cocktail menu. I would recommend Purl for a few pre-dinner drinks or as a date location. Due to the high price of drinks (well worth it) it's not somewhere i'd go for a night of drinks.
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