Milk & Honey information

Milk & Honey is a private members club. Access is available to non-members by reservation only until 23:00

Enjoy the highest quality drinks and service at Milk & Honey, which is famed for its expertly mixed cocktails.

Ranked #153 of 2091 pubs & bars in London

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Milk & Honey reviews

By Andrew M.

Rivers of Milk and Honey abound in paradise, flowing through soporific canals behind a non-descript dark entrance with its associates including The Player in Soho and Milk and Honey Manhattan.

This is the genre-defying club shrouded in John Le Carresque secrecy where jet-setters forge trans-Atlantic networks and many a cross-border transaction takes root! This speakeasy reservations only club has deservedly been awarded Class Magazine Bar of the Year. The members only Red Room is the most serene place for a relaxed drink. Sink into celestial leather sofas or travel to a basement peppered with more of a hum! The middle floor has cozy booths and a bar where you can sip on scrumptious fruity twists designed by cocktail guru Dale DeGroff, dished up by waiters in braces.

Milk & Honey's club rules lay down the law like Moses - no name-dropping, howling or chatting up the ladies. One rule is a blessing for all ladies: no man can come up and speak to them, females will initiate conversation. Ladies, here is the Garden of Eden for you, you won't be hassled and can light up a cigarette and have a conversation with the deliciously handsome men around you. Women - welcome to the Garden of understated elegance!

By Andrew M.

I've been a member of Milk and Honey since it opened and when I'm in town I always seem to end up here. Entry is only a phone call away and they are always more than accommodating - for example I left a club at 1.30am and wanted to drink on, a quick phone call later and myself and 4 guests (over the usual number allowed) were shown to our table!

The quality of drinks are unrivalled in London, the staff extremely courteous, the venue itself is perfectly presented - a must visit, even if you can only make it till 11pm when only members are allowed in.

By Howard S.

Finally found the combination of Long Black on the board, and the order taken by someone with a kiwi accent, which means all is right with the world!

By Oliver J.

I've been there a few times as a non-member and will always go back. Great place for a date and the waitering staff are incredibly friendly! I've been to a few of these underground-type bars but I always come back to this one! 10 out of 10!! p.s. I agree, it can sometimes be a bit too dark (so dark that it's hard to read the menus) but it's very romantic! Plus, the toilets are labelled 'Milk' and 'Honey', which means you have to check which you are the first time you go

By Bhu T.

I find some of the previous reviews hard to believe. I am a member and always find the staff very welcoming, helpful, and accommodating. The cocktails and the bar food are excellent and I have never had an issue when I turn up with or without a reservation. Although I do agree it is sometimes too dark.

By Ed P.

I have been to Milk and Honey a handful of times. I have always sensed that the staff are not talking to you, rather talking at you.

I don't think it's pure arrogance, just maybe the lack of light in there gets to their brains. Saturday night was the last time I'll ever go there.

Detailed explanation from our waiter on two mutually exclusive techniques of producing ice, yes ice, was met quite rightly with mild amusement, but not even close to derision, from our party in the early hours of the morning.

To our great surprise, he reacted to this claiming that "they take their ice very seriously". Our host diplomatically tried twice to diffuse the situation.

Yet he was still bullish in proving a non existent point to paying customers.

His front foot analogy in response underpinned the sheer ignorance of at all, "you wouldn't criticise a restaurant for explaining how their plates are different from another restaurant".

Come on, think for one moment, when on earth would that ever ever happen?? I despair with London sometimes.

By Kelly H.

Members’ bars come, members’ bars go. London’s ever changing nightlife scene is certainly a fickle one. Few venues have shown the consistency and longevity of this Soho institution. Still voted as one of the best cocktail bars in the world, its easygoing attitude towards members and non-members alike is to its credit. Just remember, there’s no name-dropping or star fucking allowed.

The Venue
Milk & Honey is hard to find, but therein lies a big part of its appeal, which has since been copied by newer venues like Barts. Located just off Oxford Street, along Poland Street, you’ll have to keep your wits about you to spy the small, indeterminate doorway totally devoid of any kind of indicator as to what lies within. This is true Prohibition style. Once you finally locate the entrance, a button merely stating ‘reception’ is the only clue you’ll find as to how to enter. Press the button, wait for the door to click and finally step inside.

You’ll immediately be met by a reception desk where you’ll need to state your name (you have to reserve a table ahead if you’re a non-member) and hand in your coat. Going through a second doorway you’ll finally see what all the fuss is about. Like going back in time, the 1920s style music and jazz that plays in the background adds to the feeling that you’re in a genuine speakeasy. Similar to Freud in its demeanor, its cavelike appeal is made apparent by warm walls in a burnt orange hue, offset by metal embossed tiling across the lower half of the walls and the ceiling. The ground floor bar is small, consisting almost entirely of comfortable leather booths that offer secreted away pockets of privacy. The tables are low and simple dark wood, matching the dark wooden floors. A small bar sits in the back corner, simple and understated, the large array of spirits doing all the talking.

Although it’s all a little rough around the edges without the high gloss finish of so many other members’ bars, its style is perfectly Soho and very charming. The lights are so dim you’ll have to use candlelight to read the menu, but it helps to add to the secretive feeling the bar emits. Downstairs is a second area, almost identical to the ground floor, which can be hired for private parties (minimum spend of £1000, which is less than some tables at clubs and bars across London).

Upstairs on the first floor is a space that’s strictly members’ only. In stark contrast to the Aladdin’s cave downstairs, this is more akin to a funky living room, with a floor almost entirely covered by low sofas you can imagine sinking into for hours. The bar is hidden in a cupboard where the staff mix up drinks and make them appear as if by magic. Low tables, granny lamps and a red colourscheme are warming and you could imagine it being the living room of a cool aunt – were she a fashion icon in the Sixties.

Another floor up is the final room, which is exclusively used for private hire (for both members and non-members). An incredible space, it’s a simple room with a cabinet displaying painfully old and expensive whiskys, a space for ice buckets and bottles of drink (there’s no bar up here) and a long sofa area spanning the periphery of the space with a large TV screen at the far end. A table displays a place for an iPod, a laptop and speakers. For an incredible low price of £300 minimum spend, you can have the room, bring your own iPod or laptop and create the party you want. There’s even karaoke – although this is no cheesy karaoke bar.

The Atmosphere
The atmosphere at Milk & Honey is authentic and genuine. The decor and soundtrack are just part of the experience, whisking you away from the hustle, bustle and commercialism just outside the front door. The secretive world you enter is aided by the low lighting and it would be an ideal spot for a first date. A set of rules prohibit men from chatting up women here, although girls are welcome to ask the barmen to do an introduction. This will be a welcome relief for those who believe that every Central London bar is little more than a meat market. There’s a three strikes and you’re out rule if you book and don’t show up, but despite a page of rules, they’re actually very laid back, non-pretentious and friendly here. If you’ve booked a space, you can call and cancel late notice, they just like to know in advance.

They’re also very good at providing both members and non-members with the same level of service and courtesy. Whereas many members bars will kick non-members off a table if a member demands it, here you’re allowed to remain seated for up to two hours before 11pm, regardless of who comes in. Also, if you’re a non-member who hires a space for a party, you won’t find you’ve got a late cancellation if a member kicks up a stink. The first-come, first-served policy is admirable. Members have their own cosied away space on the first floor if they want to really get their money’s worth and the staff make an effort to get to know them and what they like.

The staff here are friendly, charming and genuine and even their uniforms tie into the speakeasy Prohibition theme. Red braces and simple shirts and trousers are key. The knowledge that every member of the bar staff shows in terms of cocktails and drinks is impeccable, each and every one of them know their craft inside out, and they’re regularly tested to ensure that they’re the best.

The Food
A small selection of bar food is available at Milk & Honey, ranging from £4-£19 for small plates, divided into Fancy Snacks for dishes like oysters and tuna carpaccio and Saloon Food offering plates like olives and sausages.

From the Fancy Snacks selection, the tiger prawn tempura (£9) is an excellent dish of large, plump and juicy tiger prawns covered in a light, delicate batter with a rich undertone. Also excellent are the salt marsh lamb chops (£12), thick chops of perfectly cooked lamb that are juicy, tender and full of a lightly minted flavour.

If you’d rather save your pennies for cocktails, the Saloon Food is equally good and a lot cheaper. The Puglia olives (£4) are plump and almost a toxic green colour with a consistency and salty flavour almost like frankfurters – they have to be seen to be believed. Cheddar fritters (£8) made from aged Montgomery cheese may sound a little dull, but the creamy, melted cheese beneath the crisp breadcrumbs are delicious and it’s one of the best dishes on the menu. Cumberland cocktail sausages (£6) are a charming addition, coming on cocktail sticks you’ll feel as if you’re at a children’s party – were the parties of your childhood catered with incredibly fresh, juicy sausages with a spiced aftertaste rather than Asda specials. Finally, the shoestring fries (£4) are well worth the money, appearing in a papered tin, the crisp thin fries are delicately salted with Maldon sea salt and come with a jalepeno relish that isn’t too hot, instead supplying a pleasant tang to each chip. This is unpretentious bar food with style.

The Drink
Milk & Honey are famous for their cocktails, and with cocktail genius Dale Degroff behind the menu it’s not hard to see why. Although they offer a great choice of Champagne, wine, bottled beer, whisky and premium spirits, as well as a fine and rare wine list, it’s the cocktail menu that most people come here for.

The list is surprisingly succinct, you won’t find a tome of faddy drinks here. There’s also a refreshing lack of flavoured spirits, the ethos being that the base spirit should be the main flavour, built upon by the ingredients added. There’s also a lack of over the top garnishes and flouncy glasses - the drink does the talking. Prices are also refreshingly cheap, coming in at an average £7.50.

The Morning Glory Fizz (scotch, absinthe, lemon, sugar and egg white) is a surprisingly refreshing choice, an appealing pastel green colour in a simple long glass. The consistency is quite thick, courtesy of the egg white, and the flavour of the scotch is clearly evident. However, the nasty aftertaste that often accompanies absinth is entirely absent, the lemon and sugar cutting through nicely to provide a subtle sweetness. Alternatively, the East 8 Hold Up (vodka, aperol, pineapple, passion fruit, lime) is a far fruitier affair, tasting strongly of the tartness of the pineapple mixed with the sweetness of the passion fruit. If you prefer creamier cocktails then the Lazy Man Flip Port (calvados, cream, sugar, egg yolk) is presented in a long glass with a handle and is a rich, creamy cocktail with a slight marzipan aftertaste. The egg yolk and cream provide a thickness that’s pleasant to drink.

Recent additions to the cocktail menu are equally inventive. The Aviation Number One (calvados, creme de mure, lime, sugar and absinthe) is a deep red drink appearing in a shallow martini style glass. The flavour is strong with the calvados coming through and the lime balancing the strong spirits well. Perfectly mixed, it’s highly recommended. The Boston Cobbler (calvados, Tawny port, sugar syrup) is beautifully presented with a pineapple slice as garnish alongside an orange wedge. The drink is surprisingly sweet with the port providing an interesting balance to the flavour. The Black Thorn (sweet vermouth, sloe gin, sugar syrup, lemon juice, orange bitters, angostura, lemon peel garnish) is a stronger drink with the flavour of the gin and vermouth coming through just enough, whilst the lemon and bitters provide depth and the sugar lifts it with a slight sweetness.

The Last Word
Milk & Honey may be a Soho institution but its lack of pretension and ‘all welcome’ attitude are to its credit. Best of all, its prices aren’t exclusive, especially in times when the credit crunch is affecting everyone’s wallet. A real (hard to) find.

By Lim L.

this review is hilarious..who actually wrote this pile of tish tosh? no doubt one of the owners of this 'garden of eden'..and i actually prefer men to approach me rather than me approach them!

By John J.

I booked to visit M&H and received a phone call in the early evening confirming my booking - all good I thought. Nothing like a spot of customer service to get off to a good start. I was 10 mins late arriving at the 'club' and whilst almost there, I received another call asking where I was and would I be turning up! Customer Service gone too far methinks.

I entered the place and was totally mortified -it was so dark, I had to use a lighter to read the drinks menu. In fact for dark, read gloomy. We were then put on a very small round table by the walkway through the 'club', so anybody that went by brushed our legs sticking out (the table was very small).

As for service, I expect more from a private club rather than what I got, which was 2 barely interested Eastern Europeans wandering about looking lost. As for the other clientele - well, if you like lots of young, loud and squealing girlies making an unpleasent noise - go fill yer boots.

In summary, what is promised and what I experienced at what is supposed to to be a private club was, quite frankly rubbish. I can think of 100 other things to do with £300 membership rather than waste it on this place. Here's a thought - you can drink in the Ritz Hotel on Piccadilly in better surruondings, with a better class of people and far better service - and its free!

By J.

Booked twice - apparently I was mistaken twice. Last time (and I mean last...) I was told that if I didn't like it then I should, shall we say, "go" somewhere else.

Got sent into the bar both times - grim place full of people who imagine they are terribly classy and upmarket, and have paid £250 for a year's membership - to sit in the dark with really poor food and average cocktails.

The place is a confidence trick - utterly awful social climbing nonsense for people who like to think they are paying for something traditional and upmarket...get a life guys.

By I.

Milk and Honey has lost it - aggressive management, unfriendly service and some sad, sad food. The staff turnover is the clue - the manager, the proof. Membership is not the prized possession they claim any more. This place has just lost its way...avoid like the plague - the place is a phony.

There are lots of good clubs (but also avoid the Player, and the Match Bar - part of this group - with similar policies in terms of keeping your bookings and politeness...).

By the way don't complain unless you want to be 'taken outside' by the GM for a talking to or have your guests humiliated.

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