London is home to an incredible bar scene. Whether you are wishing to dance the night away in Shoreditch or sit down to a classy cocktail in Piccadilly, London simply has it all. Piccadilly is of course home to The Ritz and the stunning Rivoli bar. Home to sublime traditional and inventive cocktails.
The Ritz itself is an iconic landmark of the capital. A beautiful five star hotel which was modelled on Parisian architecture by its creator – César Ritz. From the outside, the hotel does appear to resemble the style of many buildings in central Paris, a success for César Ritz’s vision.
The Rivoli Bar continues to showcase the Parisian theme. The bar is said to be presented with the intention of making each patron feel like they are in ‘a glittering jewellery box’ once they arrive. The bar also operates a ‘no reservations’ policy and is open to anyone either dropping in to The Ritz or staying as a guest.
We arrived for our visit bursting with excitement. We were married in the private houses at The Ritz in 2015. Our wedding took place in William Kent House using The Music Room, The Queen Elizabeth Room, gardens and of course The William Kent Room. There is honestly nothing quite like it.
Before our wedding, a lot of the planning seemed to take place in The Rivoli Bar, but with tea replacing cocktails. So we never actually got to try a cocktail at The Rivoli Bar. As you enter the famous revolving doors you can walk past the lobby and take a right by The Palm Court (famous of course for afternoon tea) and find the cloakroom to store coats and bags, free of charge.
You could be forgiven for thinking, with the hotel being so grand, that the service is going to be snooty and catering only to those who have serious money. You couldn’t be more wrong. The staff at The Ritz are some of the best in the world at what they do. A relaxed atmosphere is created allowing for the guest to have the perfect experience.
As we entered the stunning Rivoli Bar, we were guided to our table. The menus are then presented and do also include food. The food menu consists mainly of sandwiches and canapes to give a teaser of the Michelin cuisine that chef John Williams and his team are producing day to day.
The cocktail and champagne menu is packed with tantalising options. Classics cocktails are dedicated to leading figures in The Ritz’s history such as Auguste Escoffier, a key figure in the culinary style of the Ritz, Winston Churchill and of course César Ritz.
Price-wise, the cocktails won’t hit you too hard in the pocket. Given the location, £22 is fair if you fancy trying one of the classics. The seasonal specialty cocktails also come in at £22 with the price rising to £24 for Champagne cocktails. Wine, beer and spirits are also available to order with high-end Vintage Ritz cocktails costing up to £500!
We decided to choose a Nobleman cocktail – featuring a mix of Japanese Plum Wine, Vodka and Chamomile. To go with that, we just had to go for a signature Champagne Cocktail, The Ritz 110. A blend of Gold-infused Absolut Elyx Vodka, Grand Marnier, Peach Liquor and finished with Champagne and a sugar cube in the base of the glass.
Rather moreish snacks are presented on a metal stand for you to enjoy along with your drinks. The snacks include sugared nuts, salted nuts, flavoured crackers and olives. All of which are refilled free of charge and all of which are delicious.
So how does a signature Ritz 110 Champagne cocktail taste? Like heaven is the honest answer. The balance of all the flavours within the cocktail were superb. The twist of fruit peel on the edge of the glass and the bubbles rising from the dissolving sugar cube really add to the theatrics. If you are wanting a cocktail to match the venue then this is the one.
The Nobleman fared well in the flavour profiles with the sweet Japanese wine forming a perfect partnership with the flavours of Chamomile but I did think this cocktail was a little on the simple side. Served in a glass on the rocks, it was devoid of the bells and whistles approach given to The Ritz 110.
The Rivoli Bar is an oasis of relaxation and calm. Large groups were in the bar enjoying a drink but you would never know that they were there. The service throughout had been attentive and professional without being overbearing. The Ritz know what they are doing in regards to the customer experience.
Our final bill totalled £46. A respectable amount for an experience in such amazing surroundings. It’s rather like stepping back in time going to The Rivoli Bar but in the best way possible. The Ritz continue to honor tradition by offering a flawless experience.
The dress code is a lot more relaxed in the bar compared to other areas of the hotel such as The Ritz Restaurant or The Palm Court. Smart casual is the requirement but with no shorts, sportswear or trainers permitted.
Overall, The Rivoli Bar is the perfect introduction to any experience at The Ritz. Superb cocktails, reasonable prices and decades of tradition and elegance to admire all around you. There really is nowhere else like it in London.
Opening Times: Monday – Saturday 1130-2330, Sunday 1200-2230
Nearest Tube: Green Park