Bar Termini Central in a nutshell: The second Bar Termini from Tony Conigliaro, specialising in dinky bottle-aged negronis and Italian cocktails.
Where is it? 31 Duke Street, Marylebone. Nearest tube: Bond Street
Who’s behind it? Cocktail maestro Tony Conigliaro revolutionised the cocktail scene by approaching drinks in the same way in which a chef creates new dishes. He owns cocktails bars 69 Colebrooke Row in Islington and Untitled in Dalston, and conjures up new concoctions in his cocktail ‘lab’, Drink Factory.
What’s the vibe?
Where the original Bar Termini oozes a ‘50s-style Italian café-bar vibe, this larger room has more of a stripped-back, neighbourhood feel. The classic Italian rail station theme continues from the original bar, with luggage rails and pale green leather banquettes, but there’s also a full-size pin ball machine, Italian tunes crackling out of the speakers and a casual buzz more suited to a quick drop-in than settling in for the night. You’ll definitely want to stay for the pasta though…
What’s the drinks menu like?
Bar Termini boasts not one, not two, but five pre-mixed, bottle-aged negronis, served cold and straight up in tiny rose-tinted glasses. Choose between classico, superiore (laced with pink peppercorns), rosato (with floral rose petals), robusto (as it sounds, aged longer for a fuller, more robust flavour) and the newest addition to the negroni line-up, bergamot.
There are also a handful of other Italian cocktails, ranging from aperitivo-style spritz termini with rhubarb cordial and an olive purée bellini to more punchy serves such as Death in Venice – made from Campari, grapefruit bitters and prosecco, and a bittersweet Campari old fashioned with raspberry syrup and Peychaud bitters.
Which cocktail to order at Bar Termini Centrale?
Our favourite negroni serve is the more unusual bergamot variety, with a sweet, floral note that makes it all too easy to knock back in a few sips. (Here’s how to make the Bar Termini negroni). The terroir cocktail is another interesting pre-bottled drink; a clean, pure, clear liquid that Tony describes as an ‘earth liqueur’, made from three distillations of vodka, one with clay, one with flint and one with lichen moss.
Is there any food?
Bar Termini Centrale’s pasta pop-up Fat Tony’s is now a permanent resident. Start with a panzanella salad served with crisp croutons, bright tomatoes, red pepper and fresh basil, or a simple ball of burrata drenched in olive oil and sprinkled with sea salt.
The pici cacio e pepe is a prime example of a simple dish done extremely well – homemade pasta formed into springy worms of pici pasta, covered in a rich and moreish parmesan, black pepper and butter sauce. This was one of the best of its kind we’ve tried, and we struggled not to order another round. Wide ribbons of al dente pappardelle soaked up an intense beef ragu sauce, and vegan kale pesto provided a lighter sauce to top chitarra spaghetti (originally from the Abruzzo mountains in Italy).
These simple but authentic dishes make Fat Tony’s the perfect fit for Bar Termini Centrale’s casual Italian vibe.
Insider tip: You can buy bottles of Bar Termini’s punchy negronis to enjoy at home, along with the elegant rose-tinted glasses. The labels are illustrated with minimalist Italian scenes, so make a stylish keepsake to reuse. Buy them here.
Where to go nearby for dinner: Stay put for Fat Tony’s pasta, or for a real treat, cross over two streets to Texture, Aggi Sverrisson’s Michelin-starred restaurant focusing on Icelandic ingredients.
Here are our other favourite restaurants near Oxford Streets to try…