Speaking of The Fumoir bar at Claridge’s, it seems irresistible to toss out the cheap pun in the title. In one sense, that is appropriate insofar as the aesthetics and indeed some of the PR about the place might have you believing that this is an original 1929-31 space when it was, in fact, created around the turn of the millennium, to a design by Thierry Despont, a man who is clearly as alien to minimalism as we are. But there is nothing fake, about the Fumoir. Rather, it serves as an example of how a certain elegance, a certain aesthetic can be timeless.
The intimate, moodily lit space features plenty of etched mirrors and glass by Lalique and Basil Ionides; some of it dating from the 1930s refurbishment of this Grand Dame and some acquired more recently. Anyone putting the talents of the house of Lalique to work gets our vote.
The Fumoir’s ‘no booking’ policy, though admirable in its respect for spontaneity, can be irritating when there’s no place available, especially as you’ll tend to be directed to the much less interesting main bar, next door. This suggests making your pilgrimage to this most excellent drinking hole outside of the canonical ‘amateur nights’; from Thursday to Saturday. Like many, though not all, very high-end bars, the nibbles available are quite superior to what is commonly referred to as ‘bar snacks’. We could easily enjoy a week of gorgeous dinners (or lunches) at The Fumoir without repeating ourselves. Of course, to do that and keep up with the drinks, we’d have to sell one of our children; this is not a cheap place. It is, however, certainly worth saving up for.
The Fumoir at Claridge’s
Brook Street, Mayfair, W1K 4HR
Tel: 020 7107 8886