Cocktails & Dreams

Raising the Bar

July. 2022
For the second consecutive year, The Connaught Bar in London’s Connaught Hotel was named The Best Bar in Europe and The Worlds Best Bar 2021. 

The David Collins designed “nouveaux-deco” interior is effortlessly chic and stylish – luxurious, yet understated, comfortable, yet sophisticated, and the cocktails are passionately crafted to perfection by Head Mixologist Agostino Perrone and his team.  Textured walls in platinum silver leaf and a cool grey bar set a stylish tone, the bar evokes English and Irish Cubist art of the 1920s, with a touch of timeless elegance.

a painted panelled bar for a country house

The word ‘cocktail’ itself conjures up images from the beginning of the 20th century where every hotel worth its stars had a chic bar serving the finest drinks from the classic Old Fashioned to a rainbow of champagne cocktails, all expertly mixed by a professional “mixologist”.  

This art deco period was synonymous with glamour, frivolity, exuberance and luxury.  Geometric patterns; gold, copper or brass finishes; and the use of dark colours all helped to create a sophisticated and strong design aesthetic.

Recreating this ambience, cocktail menu and luxury experience at home may be a challenge for some.  However creating a bar is something that every home can aspire to.  Cocktails today can mean anything from a vodka Martini (shaken or stirred) to an exotic range of non-alcoholic botanical spirits, and a home bar can be a stylish focus of home entertaining.

Building a luxury home bar should be as unique as the property it is designed for, and Guild Anderson design team were recently charged with one such commission.  Our clients had already asked us to design their bespoke kitchen several years previously, and so when they decided to extend their living and entertaining space with the addition of a beautiful orangery, leading from the kitchen, they approached us again.

In this new room the client brief was to incorporate a bar, spiral underground wine cellar, wall panelling and dining area, as well as a small sofa area – a sophisticated dedicated home entertainment space.

For the bar itself we used oiled American black walnut, fluted inwards.  Walnut is a luxurious wood celebrated for its natural warmth and character, and this American walnut is particularly exceptional as it offers richer darker tones than its European equivalent.  The fluting enables the random textures and colours in the wood to really shine through.

It has then been topped with a stunning statement slab of Calacatta Verde marble from Bath Granite & Marble, creating more subtle texture and interest.  The foot rail that runs along the bottom is made from antiqued brass, as is the knuckle framework with glass shelving, backed with an aged mirror, that is the centre-piece of the wall behind.  A Jade worktop, again from Bath Granite and Marble, creates additional texture and colour behind the sink area.

Bespoke Walnut Cocktail Bar in Hampshire Country House

The appliances are integrated; incorporating a Fisher & Paykel Dish Drawer dishwasher, Quooker tap, Miele integrated Freezer and Fridge. The entire back wall is then encased behind panelled pocket doors, coupled with bi-fold doors that create a seamless line with the entire room’s bespoke wall panelling.

The colour scheme chosen is understated and elegant.  Farrow & Ball’s green based Mouse’s Back for all the wall panelling and external cabinetry; quiet in nature it feels soft in rooms both large and small.  While the interior cabinetry is Farrow & Ball’s Studio Green; within the home, this deep hue appears almost black unless in very well lit rooms and so enhances the depth of the green in the jade worktop as well as the brass hardware.  Handles are from both Brascote & Co. and Armac Martin’s collections.

Looking at the room that the Guild Anderson team designed it’s easy to imagine oneself sitting in a chic international bar – the Connaught even!  Soft lighting has been incorporated, alongside etched mirrors, brass accents and stunning tactile surfaces.  The room exudes a truly sophisticated and luxurious aesthetic. 

The room is calm and stylish, with its rich textures, strong cosmopolitan colours, its use of marble and jade with just a hint of formality at the bar with its “international cocktail” vocabulary.  An evocative space for a quiet nightcap or for seriously entertaining multiple guests – a piece of true theatre for the accomplished home mixologist!

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