We have discovered a place you can escape from politics into a secret garden of tranquility for a little magic and a restorative beverage. Rockwell is a fairly new immersive destination cocktail oasis in the heart of St. James, inviting you to follow in Sir Archibald Rockwell’s footsteps and take a glimpse into the beast filled fantasy world he discovered on his adventures into the unknown.
Stepping through the entrance of Rockwell (in the Trafalgar St. James Hotel) gives the impression of arriving in a tropical rainforest. A botanical theme and chilled lo-fi soundtracks make for a warm and welcoming environment in perfect contrast to the icy air outside. Located just off Trafalgar Square and open till la sensible 1am on weekends, it couldn’t be better placed to enjoy a cocktail following a Christmas shopping session down Regent Street – or merely to escape the frenzied masses.
The cocktails are broken down into four themes categories with amusing names: ‘Oh My Whiskers & Ears’, ‘Curiouser & Curiouser’, ‘Illogical Turn of Events’ and (perhaps the best) ‘Fish Without A Porpoise’.
You need to read the history of Sir Anthony Rockwell to fully understand the bar’s plant filled visionary theme, complete with mythical animals and, perhaps, gives a hint as to some of the drinks’ whacky names. Even better is that cocktails change regularly so there is always some new quirky names and concoctions to try from flavoured gins through to libations atop with foams and even chlorophyll drops.
We soon set about the drinks menu with a rum-laced Tangerine Capybara and Whisky filled Wolf’s Foxglove – a lemon and ginger winter warmer. Both very well presented and enjoyable.
I’d come to the Rockwell on ‘Midweek Magic’ night, and the special guest on this occasion was a tarot card reader. I’d never done this before but found it a highly entertaining experience, and was amazed by how many of my personal details the tarot reader got correct.
Following this was a dark, magic-themed cocktail, made with blackberry and theatrically produced from a wooden boxed filled with smoke. It was an incredibly impressive delivery. Better still, the drink was delicious – by far the best of the night.
Food – Very well presented overall using quality ingredients. I tried tuna tartare and ceviche tacos to start, followed by a lovely cut of sirloin steak with whisky sauce, and a sticky toffee pudding for dessert.
This New Year’s Eve, Rockwell are throwing a jungle-themed party with acrobats, snake charmers, DJs and complimentary food and champagne at midnight. Tickets are £99.00 each (early bird) and include two glasses of champagne along with a midnight feast of snacks and bowl food.
Rockwell claims to be one of London’s best kept secrets – and it certainly gives you the feeling of entering into a secret garden, full of colours and mystery. It was a great escape from the madness of every day life with a relaxed atmosphere, great entertainment and – most importantly – somewhere that is a little different on the London cocktail scene. Rockwell really appeals to us as it doesn’t take itself too seriously but at the same time serves up an array of cocktails that play on all the senses and tell a story through every sip. Our kinda place.
To discover more and book, visit: rockwellsw1.com
By Shaun Smyth