Hotel bars come in all shapes and sizes. From the stylish swagger of The Sanderson’s Long Bar to the art deco opulence of The Savoy’s Beaufort Bar, London is a city that has a hotel bar fit for every occasion. One of the latest names to enter the fray, Good Godfrey’s, opens up the Waldorf Hilton’s lobby, turning it into a snug, very discreet place to enjoy inventive cocktails created by bar manager Nelson Bernardes.
The Waldorf Hilton sits on Aldwych, next to the hot neon signage of the perennial crowd-pleaser Dirty Dancing. Its modest lobby, once surprisingly bar-less, has now been given its own space and they’ve opted to keep the classic, traditional heavy wooden-panelling while adding a thoroughly contemporary edge through the addition of a glowing back-lit onyx bar.
Still a relatively untapped resource for non-residents, the bar attracts moneyed residents with plenty of American accents in attendance. The international feel continues as a well-spoken couple from the Indian sub continent settle in for a bottle of champagne and one of the biggest selling points is that it isn’t overly fussy or painfully sterile like some hotel bars. Equally, it’s not a party spot so it’s very much suited to couples or those looking for a relaxing drink.
Small plates of food are available, pick and mix style, with three plates costing £12.50. Smoky prawns on skewers served with saffron mayonnaise, an excellent Thai-style crab cakes with sweet chilli dip and a passable mini beef and ale pie are among the options that are dished up on stone platters. It’s good quality and not greedily priced.
Some serious thought has been put into the menu and gin plays a big part. In fact there are around 20 different varieties of the spirit glistening in bottles against the back of the bar. The Madam Geneva cocktail arrives in a martini coupe with a vanity spray containing elderflower and gin squirted by the bar staff to give it fragrant entrance. Alternatively, a Spring Memories offers a frothy gin-based blend including thyme which works well as a refreshing tipple on a warm evening. The Astor, a remix of the Manhattan that’s still in the testing stage but will eventually be served in a hip flask, shows they’re determined to become known as a serious cocktail venue and, in the meantime, the Maple Old Fashioned gives bourbon-drinkers a intensely sweet version of the classic concoction. Cocktails start from £12 and rise upwards, a price that puts them firmly in competition with the best cocktail-specialists in town.
The Last Word
There might be better looking hotel bars in town but what Good Godfrey’s does have is dedicated and passionate hands directing the cocktail making. And if you’re more interested in finding somewhere to appreciate the bar tenders creations than people watching, Good Godfrey’s is a good place to do it.