HIDE Below: A Small, Dark And Handsome Cocktail Bar
Unusually for a place serving 1. food, and 2. alcohol (lots of it), it's actually the building itself that lures us to HIDE. Specifically: the timber, and most of all: that staircase.
You've probably seen it, hypnotically snaking across your Instagram. It is to HIDE what those toilet pods are to Sketch, except beautiful. It spirals up from the ground floor, into the rarefied air of HIDE Above, where punters drop three-figure sums on tasting menus and wine flights. And it curves down, into the dark embrace of HIDE Below.
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It's no less high-design than the floors above, though it's a bit harder to tell. Shadowy and timber-lined, the entire room gives off a dark gleam, like a boozier Batcave. We hold the drinks menu up to our table's candle to order some equally high-design cocktails, and lean in across our big table to hear each other's choices: it's also loud.
Cocktails are highly-crafted works of art (with matching price tags), using seasonal and lesser-spotted drink ingredients — sweetcorn, aloe, pea shoots — to lovely effect. They're just as good if you go off-menu, as proven by a dirty martini that's every inch as dirty and wet as we ask for — apparently the martinis here are stirred with frozen birch sap rather than ice, to silken the finish of it against your tongue: a touch of the same perfectionist hedonism that runs through the entire drinks list.
Same goes for the bar snack menu. Vegetarians are left with mostly cheese; vegans who don't like olives might starve — but anybody with room in their heart for hot, cloud-light flatbread draped with silkily melting lardo and pickled walnuts is going to be starry-eyed about the food here.
HIDE Below is more of an after-work watering hole for the local 1%, or for a nightcap after dinner at one of the restaurants above. It's too high-volume and spread out — the tables too big to feel intimate, the seats too distant from each other — to be real date night material. But if you like your bars small, buzzy and with a strong line in snacks, this is The One.
HIDE Below, 86 Piccadilly, W1J 7NB.
Last Updated 19 November 2018