Berry Bros. & Rudd is Britain's oldest wine and spirit merchant and the esteemed group’s new bar is situated in the grandeur of The Royal Albert Hall.
Anyone with an ounce of culture in their bones knows of the celebrated Royal Albert Hall. It’s an easy 10-15 minute walk from Kensington High Street and Knightsbridge underground. Not open to the public, you gain entry after submitting your ticket to the night’s performance and descending the stairs to two rather plush bars. Berry Bros. is the more elegant of the two, with sophisticated lighting, lavish sofas, treasure chests posing as tables, a red carpet and low lighting. The royal crest and historic photographs, including an authentic shipment form from the sunken Titanic, line the purple painted walls.
As you can imagine, The Royal Albert Hall attracts a more mature clientele, but it’s not stuffy or pompous - it’s classy and refined at Berry Bros. and the air is filled with anticipation for the parting curtains. The staff at the bar are young, attentive and courteous and the vibe is upbeat and relaxed.
Food is referred to as ‘bar snacks’ on the menu but the dishes offer much more than this. Offerings are both filling and substantial - probably some of the best bar snacks you will come across - and the prices aren't bad either, considering the surroundings. The Spanish charcuterie sharing platter is £22 but worth every penny. Teruel ham, chorizo magno and Torta de Acelle biscuits - tasty thin crackers - fill the plate and all work well together to form a delicious and light dish. An old-school club sandwich is cut into triangles and served with Tyrell crisps. It’s a good sandwich and well worth the rather reasonable £6 price tag, served on thick white seeded bread and filled with succulent chicken and crispy bacon with a lovely tasting mayonnaise. Salads are £8, as is a handful of Cumberland sausages. If meat isn’t your thing, there is also a cheese sharing board for £15.
Whisky is Berry Bros’ specialty, so it would be a shame not to try one of them. Many are one-off bottles, so it could be a flavour you may never get to try again. Cocktails are popular on the menu - a Pink Mojito costs £8.50 and is made to perfection, slightly sweet and minty, the bartenders are obviously experienced and skilled. Other flavours include the Pink Pigeon, Whisky Sour, King’s Squeeze and Tom Collins. An after dinner Cognac costs £5 and No.3 London Dry Gin is £8-£11.50. As you’d expect from this esteemed wine trader, there is also a large variety of wines on offer. Look out for Berry’s own house wines as well as a couple of special bottles of Cloudy Bay Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Noir for £42.50 and £47.50 a bottle, respectively.
The Last Word
Berry Bros. is a great place to have a drink both pre- and post-performance. With no pubs in walking distance and with Berry Bros. staying open until midnight, it’s a definite spot for a shot of whisky or a glass of vino before heading home, and is as grandiose as its surroundings.