Bourne and Hollingsworth Buildings
Bourne and Hollingsworth Buildings, or B&H for short, is a relatively new addition to a well-loved stable of eclectic and eccentric bars that include Bourne and Hollingsworth’s eponymous basement bar in the West End, The Reverend WJ Simpson and the Blitz Bar.
The new Bourne and Hollingsworth Buildings are on a slightly larger scale, encompassing a bar, brasserie, conservatory and private rooms. Styled on an English country house, the overall effect is effortlessly elegant, tasteful and tranquil… even when it’s busy and bustling. It’s light, airy, comfortable and to us, seems a little bit cool colonial. Imagine an empire-era, jewel in the crown, ex-pat club with eclectic modern touches and accents.
Bars are our thing and we love the one here… its got a character all it’s own that goes against the grain of many of its contemporaries. It’s not a bar for secret liaisons, it has no dark corners for illicit trysts. It’s not expensively anodyne like so many hotel bars. Nor following a formula like so many chains. And it’s not a low down dirty drinking den (much as we like them as well).
It’s a bar for lounging louchely in. Apart from the seats at the bar, it’s all low cocktail chairs and banquettes, ideal for slowly settling into with friends over a few drinks. And those drinks are very, very moreish. The cocktails, whether they are the bar’s own renowned creative concoctions or classic recipes, are all carefully prepared by knowledgeable staff.
As a nod to the dryathlon we started with one alcoholic and one non- alcoholic cocktail. Of course, I had the onerous task of downing the full strength option, a delicious tequila, mescal and cucumber combination. It was refreshingly light and lethally lovely, instantly banishing any bad memories that drinking too much Mexican spirit too quickly in my younger years had created. My companion was on the winter wagon, so the bartender kindly created a bespoke mocktail that mixed grapefruit juice, green tea puree, cucumber and lime in perfectly delicious proportions.
The say the more the merrier and this is certainly true when you are drinking cocktails. We didn’t want to leave, and as always we wanted to return immediately. It got us thinking that in the old days when B&H was mentioned it was normally in relation to a certain brand of cigarette. Now B&H is simply one of our favourite bars – but when all’s said and done it’s still smoking.
Bourne & Hollingsworth Buildings is at
42 Northampton Road