Aprés, Mayfair

It’s Friday evening, it’s 6pm and folk are bursting out of their central London offices and piling into their regular post-work drinks haunt. I’m meeting a galpal who I haven’t seen in a while, so we’re looking for somewhere quiet enough to have a proper chat but somewhere that’s not so quiet that hot goss echoes around the place.

Tucked away down the side of Selfridges is Aprés bar and cocktail lounge, and we’d heard that this place would tick the right boxes. We pass the street level terrace which doubles up as a shisha smoking area and enter the dimly lit bar. We position ourselves at the edge of the room on a thickly-padded bench and slouch down, menus in hand.

It’s an impressive cocktail menu made up of concoctions around the £9 mark. Our visit falls between 5-8pm meaning that there are a variety of £5 happy hour options. Following a new found love for tequila, I opt for a Paloma. The Cabrito Blanco tequila is muddled with fresh pink grapefruit juice, lime and is served long with sparkling grapefruit soda. Naturally, the rim comes salted. My friend goes for a Heisenberg Highball. Of course, there’s a whole load of blue curacao involved in this one giving it a powerful blue hue reminiscent of Heisenberg’s meth in Breaking Bad.

The cocktails are all pretty playful and the menu often gives a fun little anecdote about something or other. Next up, I sup a Pick A Dilly margarita, chosen in part because of the interesting blurb next to its name, recounting that in the 17th century, call girls were called ‘Dilly’s, thus Piccadilly is rumoured to be named after ‘picking a dilly’ in the area. This one is includes dill-infused Calle 23 Bianco tequila and beautifully refreshing watermelon.

Aprés also has a wide variety of bar snacks which includes four different types of sliders: cheese burger, grilled chicken, chilli and halloumi. If the latter two are anything to go by, I would thoroughly recommend all of the them. For such small brioche bites, they sure have packed a lot of flavour in there. Chili sliders are steak patties with gruyere and smoked apple wood cheeses nicely finished with sharp chipotle ketchup and a hot chilli relish. The halloumi bad boys come with lashings of roasted red peppers and harrisa relish which kicks perfectly against the saltiness of the grilled cheese.

By 9pm, what was a comfortably quiet place had turned into something much more like a Friday night pre-party venue. A DJ has rocked up and we’re having to talk in raised voices now. It’s time to head off but if I was in the area and feeling peckish, I sure would drop in again for a plate of halloumi sliders.

Look out for Aprés’ knock-out ping pong competitions over June and July. They also offer several packages for Brazil 2014 spectators.

31 Duke St

Tel:  020 7224 3452

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