Not yet on the London club scene radar, Eclipse - for now - is a stronghold of South Kensington residents: head along for great cocktails, a shiny dancefloor and a spot of glamour.
One of the best clubby venues on Old Brompton Road, Eclipse doesn’t look all that outstanding from the outside – it’s left to the crowd to signal that something exciting is going on inside. The ground floor bar is small, yet it displays an impressive array of bottles. There are just a few seats and it often gets really crowded.
The downstairs club offers more comfort and an elaborate design. A second, larger bar distributes the fresh cocktails, a side room with a wavy red sofa looks quite striking, and the square mirrors covering the back wall look chic and cool. For the rest, the furniture is simple yet effective: small round tables with cubic stools in matching colours. The lights contribute to the sexy atmosphere, with soft neon hidden between mirrors or in the walls.
This Eclipse is actually much better than its nearby sister venue on Walton street: still very glamorous, you do not get the pretentious crowd. Less crowded but still very busy, Eclipse SW5 is a South Kensington favourite, attracting the wealthy and elegant locals. However, be ready to get some attitude as the staff here do not always shine with friendliness.
Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays are the best nights for music. A bongo player is supposed to show up every now and then but the DJ is a better bet for entertainment. The music mix is quite eclectic: it is fairly obvious that Eclipse makes its money on the cocktails so expect lounge-style music at the beginning when you are supposed to sit down and drink. Later in the evening, however, the tracks become more energetic with a mix of Latin rhythms and RnB fused with dance tracks, alongisde everything else that fits in with the cool atmosphere. Don’t worry, if you stick around long enough, you’ll be dancing eventually.
Pan Asian cuisine is the inspiration behind the handful of snacks (£4-£6) designed to go with your drink. The wild mushroom spring rolls and the chicken and chilli dumplings are particularly intriguing thanks to less common ingredients like black Japanese vinegar, ginger juice, white truffle sour cream and four types of wild Japanese mushrooms.
The cocktail list is a fairly serious affair: they definitely do not use cheap vodka, rum or whiskey for their mixes. The liquors and spirits are particularly well chosen and they would be worth trying undiluted if it was not for the bottles starting at £105.
The cocktails are good with just a few classics, leaving lots of room for their own mixes. House concoctions that shine include the Koshiku (vodka, fresh sour passion fruit, honey, ginger, kaffir lime with a cinnamon sugar ring) or the Sicilian (almond creme, fresh lemon, orange, apple, blueberries and homemade Malbec syrup). It gets quite hard to choose with so many to try. Best of all, prices aren’t that high at £7-£8.
Wines appear on the list as well and are definitely a sensible option with fairly reasonable prices. Go light on the Champagne though - a bottle of Roederer Cristal is 'only' £220 but more common bottles could see you leaving short of £55-£140.
The Last Word
Fancy without being daunting, Eclipse is an impressive venue good for a cocktail with music. The prices make it a good destination for when you want some glamour without spending a fortune.