Simply stunning. Crazy Bear is one of those rare central London finds that you want to keep to yourself. Damn, the secret’s out now.
Crazy Bear is a beautiful venue. Situated on relatively quiet Whitfield Street, the location of this venue is discernible mainly by the simple red rope and burly bouncer on the door. Don’t be put off, though, as long as you’re smartly dressed you can get in. If you have a booking in the restaurant or bar it does increase your chances of being ushered in. Upon entering, you’ll see a small reception area with the restaurant to the right on the ground floor and a small stairway leading to the more decadent separate bar downstairs.
Upon entering the bar you can’t fail to be impressed. A low ceiling keeps it cosy but everything about this space is pure glamour. An assault on the senses, the space comprises of shiny surfaces everywhere you look, beautiful plants and flowers, warm orange hues and a handful of low tables and chairs. However, for the real Crazy Bear experience reserve a chair by the centrepiece of the room – the gleaming, pristine bar. The furry cow-print seats are a world apart from your usual bar stools and it offers you a chance to talk to the bar staff about the craft of making cocktails. The most social and appealing spot in the room, the handful of chairs on offer fill up quickly. Oh, and make sure you visit the world’s most impractical toilets before you go. Made entirely of darkened mirrors, once you get in you’ll spend hours trying to find the door out again.
As long as you can get in to begin with, you’ll find the service in the Crazy Bear bar is first rate. You’ll be shown downstairs and to a seat either in the main bar area where you’ll have table service throughout the evening or straight to the bar. If you do manage to get a bar seat then you’ll be treated to the intriguing world of the expert cocktail makers who will happily talk to you about their trade for the rest of the evening. They’ll also get to know what you like and offer up off-menu selections. It’s the kind of service that only a small discerning bar can provide, especially in the always-hectic central London. The crowd is glamorous but in that ‘What do you mean? I just rolled out of bed like this’ way.
The drinks at Crazy Bear revolve entirely around the exquisite cocktail list although you will have to pay a premium of £9-£9.50 a drink. Still, when some pubs charge £7 for far inferior cocktails it’s a price that’s worth stretching to for a special occasion. With a menu that covers everything from strong shorts to fruity long drinks alongside a range of creamy and bubbly concoctions you’ll be hard pushed not to find something you like.
The absolute must-try of the menu is their own Bloody Mary (£9.50) made from fiery red chillies infused with Karlsson’s gold vodka, merlot, fresh cherry tomatoes, basil leaves and their homemade seasoning mix. It will be the best Bloody Mary you’ve ever tasted with a strong heat tempered by the sweetness of the tomato. More like a meal in itself, it’s substantial, served in a large, long glass and worth every penny of its price tag. And for ‘dessert’? Try the Tiramisu (£9.50) comprising of Courvoisier shaken with mascarpone cream cheese, Mozart white liqueur, Fair Trade coffee liqueur and a shot of espresso. Decadent, creamy, rich and joyfully sinful, you’ll gulp it down and it will be gone before you realise. Who said you can’t live on an entirely liquid diet?
The Last Word
Crazy Bear is luxuriously decadent. Although it’s not cheap, it’s not so expensive that it’s entirely exclusive for those on a budget. If you’re watching the pennies then head along for just one – it’s so worth it.