Machiya Bar



© James Byrne Photography


The addition to London’s basement bar scene has been launched! Tucked beneath Machiya, the popular Japanese restaurant, it’s the perfect place to escape the buzz of central London. Although it has the charm of your dad’s den, the interiors are kept clean and modern with marble topped tables and an ice sculpture to greet you and cool you down in this summer heat.

Being Japanese, the whisky selection is on point (ranging from Yamazaki to Taketsuru, Hibiki and beyond), as well as their range of sake and their magic cocktails. I say magic because, unlike any other, they managed to transform Choka Bloc into a Campari drinker. Ordinarily the bitterness offends me, but they engineer it to bring out the refreshing elements of the cocktails. I’m also impressed at their ability to keep even the sweet cocktails grown-up; in the wrong hands, they could have verged on being “a bit Benidorm”, as my old cocktail manager used to say. I was lucky enough to try most of the cocktail menu:

Mio spritz
Mio, campari
Another great alternative to the Aperol Spritz

Kawaii ne
Shirakabegura kimoto junmai sake, lychee & peach liqueur, yuzu juice, sake-yuzu foam
Sweet and sophisticated

Tequila yuzu-kosho sour
Arette blanco, yuzu, egg white, agave syrup, yuzu-kosho, chilli
Citrus sherbet with a chilli kick

Vodka, peach liqueur, amaretto, passion fruit syrup, lemon, fresh koji
Refreshing tropical fruit punch

Salvatore’s gimlet
Gin mare, lime, cucumber, yellow chartreuse, scorched rosemary
Clean, fresh, herbal lemon drop

Portobello gin, campari, lemon, vermouth foam
Strong, with a mineral finish

Smoky Negroni
Lagavulin 16, johnnie walker black, umeshu, antica formula, campari
Choka Bloc fave! Sexy, smooth, and satisfyingly peaty

All of the cocktails are light and flavoursome enough to pair perfectly with their delicious bar snacks, as I discovered from tasting the wagyu tartare, spicy chicken wings, lobster cranachan, wagyu slider, and pork & veggie pop katsu skewers. So whether you’re looking to share snacks with friends, get up close and personal on a date, or to snuggle solo in a plush armchair with a whisky, you’ll soak up the privilege of getting in on one of London’s best-kept secrets.



© James Byrne Photography


Machiya is at 5 Panton Street, SW1Y 4DL

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