There’s something about a swish hotel bar. First, there’s the design-- often the vision of a hot designer or artist (like Julian Schabel’s look for the Rose Bar at New York’s Gramercy Park Hotel). Then comes the crowd: a mix of globetrotters, Hemingway wannabes (bonjour, Ritz Paris!), and stylish locals. Finally: the cocktails, concocted by master craftsmen with exquisite ingredients.
Artesian at The Langham London delivers on all counts. This is one of my absolute favorite bars in the world. (Little wonder why they just scored number 1 at the recent World's 50 Best Bars awards ceremony.) Named for the 365-foot well under the hotel which originally supplied all the fresh water for guests, Artesian has an elegant, understated design by the David Collins Studio.
Head Mixologist Alex Kratena routinely racks up the awards for creative drinks, often concocted with a splash of humor and whimsy. Just look at the skulls head he’s serving up for Halloween! It’s called Aqui Estoy (“Here I am” in Spanish), and it’s made with Don Julio Blanco tequila from Mexico, Mezcal, Shiso from Japan, and fresh lime. The skull’s eyes are filled with rice flowers- like the traditional folk art from Mexico used to celebrate the Day of the Dead.