If you’re looking to experience London’s Theatreland as if in a bygone era, the new Good Godfrey’s bar and lounge at The Waldorf Hilton will take you back to the glamorous age of Gaiety Girls & Stage Door Johnnies.
Stepping into the bar area is like stepping into a different place and time, and for a while you completely lose your sense of where you are. The warm grey, gold and burgundy colour scheme creates at once a warm and lush vibe, and you can almost hear the tales emanating from the original listed wood panelling adorned with large antiqued mirrors.
First impressions can be deceptive however, as much of the interior of Good Godfrey’s is in fact newly designed. The space cleverly evokes the opulent atmosphere and theatrical heritage of the hotel, with the main attraction a striking new bar featuring illuminated marble, chrome and granite elements and up-lighting.
As well as a range of spirits, wines and beers, Nelson Bernardes, award winning head mixologist at Good Godfrey’s, has created a drinks list which pays a nostalgic nod to the hotel’s celebrated theatrical history. These include the Hot Gin Punch for two which is served in a large teapot and also the Astor Hip Flask, presented in a real hip flask.
My personal highlights include:
Champagne cocktails – £14 each
Very Very Pretty – Grand Marnier with grapefruit juice, honey syrup and Champagne; the name is a reference to the only stipulation of the notorious ‘Gaiety Girls’, performers at the neighbouring Gaiety Theatre, who didn’t require any special singing or dancing skills.
Luxury cocktails – from £17 each
Waldorf-tini– Martini made with either Tanqueray No 10 and grapefruit bitters or Grey Goose Vodka with ginger bitters and Noilly Prat; stirred in a golden shaker and garnished with edible gold.
1908 – based on the classic Bronx cocktail created in New York at the turn of the century, this is a blend of Oxley gin, sweet and dry Vermouth, Mandarine Napoleon and orange bitters.
Signature cocktails – from £12 each
Refined Madam – inspired by the soubriquet of ‘Madam Geneva’ for the badly made gin available during the gin craze of Georgian London, this scented drink combines Tanqueray No 10 with rose liqueur, fresh lime juice, Waldorf-made cardamom syrup and lavender bitters to create a more ‘refined’ Madam. It is presented at the table with edible rose petals and a finishing spritz of gin and rosewater.
Astor Hip Flask – named after William Waldorf Astor, investor in the Waldorf in London, this bourbon-based cocktail is mixed with secret ingredients and aged in an oak barrel for at least a month. It is presented in a hip flask, rather like the one owned by William.
Thé Dansant – inspired by the Waldorf’s legendary tea dances, this combines gin with St Germain Elderflower Liqueur, rose water, forest tea, lemon juice and vanilla syrup.
Good Godfrey’s at The Waldorf Hilton, Aldwych, London WC2B 4DD
Tel: 020 7836 2400