Purl 22

50-54 Blandford Street , London, W1U 7HX

8 reviews

Bars Marylebone

  • Purl bar London Marylebone
  • Purl bar London Marylebone

SquareMeal Review of Purl

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.

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5.6

Food & Drink: 6.4

Service: 6.1

Atmosphere: 5.6

Value: 5.1

Food & Drink: 0.0

Service: 0.0

Atmosphere: 0.0

Value: 0.0

Veronica S. 29 May 2014

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: 4.0

Service: 4.0

Atmosphere: 5.0

Value: 3.0

BoatLady platinum reviewer 29 October 2013

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: 5.0

Service: 5.0

Atmosphere: 3.0

Value: 3.0

London Eater silver reviewer 15 October 2011

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.

Food & Drink: 4.0

Service: 4.0

Atmosphere: 4.0

Value: 4.0

AliM 07 December 2010

An awesome bar serving amazingly unique cocktails – the bar team are friendly, helpful in suggesting drinks and clearly very talented. This place has such a great atmosphere to it – we'll definitely be going back.

Food & Drink: 5.0

Service: 5.0

Atmosphere: 5.0

Value: 2.0

Sarah-Jane H. 12 November 2010

Visited PURL a few weeks ago with my boyfriend for drinks on a Friday night, we had a bit of a struggle getting a table, but it was well worth the wait, we turned up at 8pm and got a table next to the big open fire, I had a Dr Hyde's Fixer Upper which came spilling over with liquid nitrogen and in its own little potion bottle! The place has a great atmosphere and the staff were really attentive. The drinks menu comes printed on old books which I thought was a nice touch. The only downside is the price, as the cocktails are about £10 each, but would recommend if your looking for a cool place to go on a date or somewhere a little bit different. Definetley the best bar I have been to in London this year. We will be back soon – thanks :)

Food & Drink: 5.0

Service: 4.0

Atmosphere: 3.0

Value: 5.0

Richard E. platinum reviewer 02 September 2010

It is a real shame that the previous two reviewers didn't get a chance to try the cocktails here, as they are without doubt, fabulous (sorry, but did you book Pearl by any chance? Same name, different spelling, easy to do, not Purl's fault?). To be fair to them, the booking process is a bit haphazard; I called to book, was told it was probably ok but somebody would get back to me. They didn't, so I called back. It was all fine, but nobody bothered to tell me. When I called on the day to bring the booking forward an hour, there was no problem, but when we arrived, we were sat on high stools at a former bench-turned-bar in a corridor. Fortunately, our attentive waitress was able to find us a table with the minimum of fuss. In fact, service all round was very good – from the friendly, clip-board wielding door guard at the top of the stairs, to our Hibs supporting, Scottish waitress. The space itself is really odd: it feels like it wants to be Milk & Honey, all dark, sophisticated and mysterious, but is stuck in a space that is a series of small rooms, interconnected by corridors, where random tables are set. There are two nice alcoves (the old coal holes, under the street) and a big room, which housed a large group. The level of the music, however, is such that you have to be intimate with your drinking companion, as sitting more than a few inches apart makes conversation difficult. The potency of the cocktails ensures that such conversation is fluid. The cocktail list is short, but interesting. No whatever-the-latest-take-on-a-flavoured-martini-is here. No, the closest that the list comes to mainstream is a Hemingway Daiquiri, which is served with a potently laced marischino. There is a martini, the KetelN2, but this bubbles and spits nitrogen, as it stirred in a nitrogen bath, so that it is served at -50 degrees. Whilst Heston would be proud, it is suggested to guests that they don't start drinking until the bubbles have subsided. Surely nowhere else produces a martini that you have to wait until it warms up before you can drink it. Of a similar theatrical nature, Mr Hyde's Fixer Upper is a dark rum based drink, that is borne to the table in a cooler spewing dry ice, in the middle of which is a flask of rum and smoke! Not quite as dramatic, but the highlight for us, is the Street Urchin: this is a delicate bourbon and pear conconction, that comes in a medicine bottle, which is wrapped in a brown paper bag. no glass; you drink directly from the bottle. The last drink we had, before needing sustenance, was the Backward Bellini, with the fruit (pomegranite, rather than the more usual peach) as a foam on top of the proseco, rather than at the bottom of the glass. Hence backward. At this point, we did need food, and this is where there is a problem. Most bars will offer something to nibble on. After all, these are highly charged drinks, and something to soak the alcohol up is generally a good thing, especially if you want to sell more alcohol. Purl doesn't offer anything, although the waitress let us have some olives. To be fair, we also saw a takeaway pizza disappear down towards to the large group, but we left to get something to eat. Maybe this will work well, but given that bookings are for an unlimited time (unless somebody is squeezed in before a later booking), and it seems difficult to get in without a booking, if people use this as a pre- or post- dinner place only, surely they are missing a trick. It doesn't need to be much, just something that will make people linger for another cocktail or two, or even move on to the (again short, but well priced) wine list. As for the cost, well £8-10 for the astonishing cocktails is, in this part of town, excellent value: nearby there are bars at some of the big hotels (Ten Manchester Street, HUNter486 at the Arch, Claridges and the Connaught, for instance), all of which have excellent cocktails (and nibbles). None of them are in the same league as the cocktails mixed at Purl, and all of them will be nearer to twice the price, once the discretionary service charge they all have (and Purl doesn't) has been included.

Food & Drink: 0.0

Service: 0.0

Atmosphere: 0.0

Value: 0.0

Lynn W. 09 August 2010

Okay, actually everything should be ‘not applicable’ for me and my friends, two of whom were intending to start their celebration of engagement in Purl on Saturday 7th August 2010. I heard it was popular, but after the visit, I do not understand why. As you might have read from the bride to be herself, we encountered these ‘owners’ of the place claiming that they never took a booking from us. The man was seriously arrogant with some issues of repeating they are fully booked for two months (I mean who cares how fully booked you are??? I just want the table we thought we have!!!) and of questioning their guests for the staff who took the booking from us. When was the last time you book a place for your evening and ask for the person you speaking to his/her name??? No appologies, no ‘I am sorry’ smiles, no attention from anyone but the arrogant ‘owner’, nothing! And next we know, we were thrown out of the dungeon. I felt terriable for my friends who were so happy and about to start celebrating their engagement and I felt humiliated. I have never felt that bad after a visit to anywhere in London and I am seriously unhappy about it. This place does not deserve to be popular and it does not deserve your visit. Instead, why not visit the place opposite to it called Giusto with some nice champagne and apprently there is a proper restaurant downstairs which smells quite nice. We also had a more than fantastic dinner at Trishna just down the street – you can have a fabulous evening without Purl!!

Food & Drink: 0.0

Service: 0.0

Atmosphere: 0.0

Value: 0.0

Yao Z. 09 August 2010

After reading all the good reviews on another website, my fiancé and I decided to give it a go and have our pre dinner engagement drink there. We called them on Monday to book a table for the following Saturday. Initially we were told that no table was available. However after explaining that we only needed the table till 8pm, they told us that we could have a table for six ppl from 6.30pm, as long as we make sure to leave by 8pm. Upon arrival, we sensed something was wrong when the security guard said we were not on the list, but he let us in anyway to double check with the owner. We were then being told that the bar was fully booked for 2 big parties that night and there was no record of our booking. You would have thought that a sincere apology would be nice, but no!! The guy (one of the owners) was extremely arrogant and unapologetic. He kept saying the bar was fully booked from months ago and it was IMPOSSIBLE that someone took our booking. He also repeatedly questioned us the name of the person who took the booking. OK. He didn’t call us liars directly but the way he argued really made us felt like we were! It was supposed to be a perfect nite to celebrate our engagement, instead, thanks to Purl, we were humiliated in front of our friends and had to change our plan last minute in a rush. We will never return to Purl. And to be honest, I don’t think we are missing out much anyway – the bar’s in basement and felt like a dungeon. There’re plenty of nice bars around that area with better attitude!

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