The iconic Met Bar has undergone a major renovation and having been notoriously hard to get into and filled with celebrities, it has shrugged off its members-only policy and opened its doors to a well-heeled crowd and those wanting a glimpse of past glories.
Housed in The Metropolitan Hotel you can enter via the hotel itself or the street entrance. Butterscotch leather banquettes run down one side and small clusters of low tables and chairs fill the main area. There is a raised private area and a long glass wall that offers a view outside, although this tends to be frosted over at night. A long, sleek lava stone bar with leather bar stools is very NYC, and a beautiful corrugated cardboard relief adorns an entire wall. Created by the British artist Giles Miller, known for his pop-up work for Stella McCartney, this is a firm nod to the Met Bar’s arty connections, past and present. Overall, the space is light and contemporary while the warm orange hues and flickering candles in the evening add cosiness.
During the day there is a fast paced buzz to the bar as the hotel’s residents use it
for coffee, lunch and meetings. As evening sets in the doormen take their places
and a well-heeled crowd head down. The staff are clad in Armani and are very professional and informed. Tables for groups can be reserved prior to arriving
and this is worth doing, especially at the weekend.
With an opening evening hosted by Jamie Cullum on the piano the space can lend
itself to live events. DJs take over from 9pm at the weekend.
Glass domes sit along the bar during the day with an enticing array of homemade
cakes. Lunch is an informal affair and is served from midday until 5.30pm. Using the
finest British produce, starters such as potted shrimps, fennel and orange loaf with
a parsley and chilli salad, and mains such as lemon poached monkfish at £18.50
are seasonal and marry the contrasting flavours perfectly. Classics remain such as The Met Burger and Met Club (both at £17), and tapas and bar snacks replace the lunch menu come dusk.
An extensive new drinks menu includes an array of wines and carefully selected
champagnes with the Louis Roederer NV leading the way at £65 a bottle, while the heady cocktails are pitched to rival any top-end bar. Fruit and herbs are used to create wonderful concoctions with titles such as Wondering Star, where sage and pineapple puree are shaken with premium gin and garnished with star anise for £12.
The Last Word
With the complete interior having been ripped out and auctioned on eBay for the
Metropolitan’s official charity, someone out there will own a piece of Brit Pop history, but the new design works well and the less fussy door policy ensures you don’t need to book a hotel room just to catch a glimpse of the action.