Who doesn’t love a bit of the bubbly stuff? And we’re not talking flashy bankers calling for blingy magnums to be delivered to their tables, we mean opulence and class in the classic style, don’t you know. If you love all things to do with that heady post-war era of flapper dresses and cocktail-o-clock then Cartizze is the place to go. Named after the revered Italian prosecco vineyards, this is a gorgeous and luxurious cocktail bar with fizz on tap.
So a roaring (Twenties) success then?
You bet. Frank is playing on the piano, the soft lighting glimmers on cut-crystal, and the look makes you feel that you could be in the tasteful drawing room of a rich dowager’s country house. Recline on a low leather couch or perch by one of the high tables and admire the concise and accomplished menu – it’s bellinis a-go-go but there are other inventions and an impressive spirit list for those in the know. Also, we love attention to detail when it comes to nibbles, and the offering here is tip-top. Forget crisps or pretzels, instead darling little cones of peanuts, broad beans and popcorn appear as if by magic. Nice touch.
Best for when you’re feeling:
Like you want an injection of glamour in your life.
Where is it?
It’s not the kind of place you might easily stumble upon – veer off the main drag of New Bond Street and you’ll find Lancashire Court tucked off it. It’s a charming little street with a truly European air and plenty of wonderful little watering holes to dive into, but make sure you make a bee-line for Cartizze.
Who to go with:
Your friend who loves a good period drama, or aspires to higher things. Just stepping into the place will have you feeling like you’re a fully-fledged member of the Downton Abbey clan.
What makes it unique:
You don’t always come across a bar with prosseco on tap – plus the gorgeous back bar decorated with gorgeous glasses and goblets is definitely worth a good look.
So what’s the deal?
Mayfair isn’t lacking in swanky watering holes, but there are few as beautiful and intimate as Cartizze. As well as the tasteful air, the staff are welcoming, attentive, and pride themselves on good service and superb drinks.
The cocktail list, printed on thick paper in swirling script, is concise yet thorough. Bellinis are the name of the game, and you can try a version with rhubarb, blood orange or classic peach. Cartizze make all their own syrups and this adds a definite depth to the flavour of this classic drink. You can also order a Sicilian Gimlet, Truffled Liquorice Sour, or the frothy, lemon meringue tasting Il Cocktail De Cartizze – aka the Olive Oil Gin Fizz. There are also a list of top, TOP shelf vintage spirits if you fancy splashing out.
As glamorous and sparklingly beautiful as a pre-dinner cocktail party for the more attractive members of Gosford Park. The back room is an oasis of luxury and perfect for larger groups.
So what should I order?
A bellini is necessary – we loved the rich, robust taste of blood orange that contrasted nicely with the buzz of fizz. It’s also a good idea to try whatever their special barrel aged cocktail is – we sampled the Negroni and can confirm it warranted the hype.
Other menu items?
A rather compact apertivo menu belies some absolutely stupendous fodder. We were blown away by the mini hand-dived Orkney Isles scallop burgers which arrived on a candle-lit salt block in a pancetta and brioche bun. Tasty just doesn’t cover it.
Is it going to break the bank?
It probably won’t surprise you that it’s a tad on the pricey side, with cocktails between £12 and £14 they’re definitely drinks to savour. But savour them you will, and who chugs a bellini, anyway?!
The whole place evokes the feeling of Champagne – you know, that heady, giggly glow you get when you take your first sip and re-lax. Well, this is the atmosphere of the whole evening at Cartizze, and don’t be surprised if you find yourself saying ‘Golly’ or having a hankering for pearls or spats. And why not get into the spirit? After all, cocktail hour was at 3pm back then, wasn’t it?
Open Mon-Sat 5pm-11pm. 4 Lancashire Court, London W1S 1EY. cartizzebar.com
Rebecca Anne Milford @rebecca_anne_m