Mayfair’s oldest pub is hiding a charming little secret: a Kentucky Derby-loving cocktail bar just upstairs. The Whip is a creation from duo James Chase (of Chase Distillery) and Dominic Jacobs (former director of bars at Sketch), and it’s a colourful, cosy pit stop in the heart of haute hotel-land.
It’s impossible to make a trip here without ordering one of the signature juleps — all at £10. We had a go at The Whip Julep, a concoction of Chase Elegant Gin, Bramley apple, Earl Grey tea and whey. Just make sure to read the menu’s instructions on how to drink from pewter tins … apparently it’s commonly done wrong. And for non-julep drinkers, the classics are all expertly executed. Try one of the house creations like Agua Caliente, a fiery number with Vida mezcal, orgeat, lime, triple sec and Pusser’s fire. And for you hungry sophisticates, be sure to order up a few bites — the oysters are simply delightful.
The décor sticks with the jockey theme and you’ll probably want to take home some of the rich leather antique furniture, but don’t. Do however rest your rump on the bar stools, they’re tufted and sumptuous with backs to keep you sipping upright.
Best Bars tip: While this bar is hidden from the street speakeasy-style, the large bright windows make it a happy jaunt for any day. Swung wide open during the summer — perfect.
— Sasha Filimonov, @SashaSips