Jack Solomons Club in a nutshell: Legendary 1950s Soho boxing promoter Jack Solomons provides the inspiration for this speakeasy-style bar on Great Windmill Street, in what was once Jack’s old boxing gym.
Where is it? A two-minute walk from Piccadilly Circus tube station.
What’s the vibe?
A cavernous, dimly lit basement doesn’t seem a likely setting for a chic cocktail lair but Jack Solomons Club, located in the bowels of Sophie’s Steakhouse, is just that. Enter via a ‘secret’ entrance through a takeaway kiosk owned by Sophie’s and descend a staircase down into the club, where the décor swerves away from anything boxing related and instead invokes the life and times of Jack through its slightly louche mid-century stylings.
High ceilings and a mixture of bare-brick and red-leather walls are offset by capacious velvet and leather chairs in jewel tones that cluster around low tables. Booths line one side of the room and it’s very dark, so much so that aside from the dim lamps on tables the only real source of illumination comes from the pewter-topped bar, whose tall shelves of bottles are brilliantly illuminated. The overall effect is slinky, sexy and snug.
What’s the drinks menu like?
In tribute to Solomons’ favourite tipple, scotch, the drinks menu includes an extensive roster of whiskies (scotch, Japanese and bourbon) and many of the cocktails are whisky based, with names inspired by Solomons’ life and career, from his favourite greyhound (Black Jack: peat whisky, maraschino liqueur and lime) to his journalist nemesis Charlie Rose (Old Guard: bourbon, plum reduction and lemon). Find out more about whisky here.
Which cocktails to order at Jack Solomons Club?
The Nipper Morris (a bantam-weight boxer promoted by Solomons) featured Woodford Reserve, orange bitters, apricot purée and champagne, and had well-balanced dry, fruity and smoky notes.
On the Ropes was a punchier whisky cocktail; here, the sweetness of maple syrup and fruitiness of Hennessy VS was tempered by spicy cardamom bitters and a proper alcoholic kick thanks to Nikka from the Barrel whisky.
The bar also does a fine line in non-whisky cocktails, too: in the delicate, elegant Yorkshire Lady, lavender provided a pleasingly restrained floral backdrop to sour lemon and dry, fragrant tea-infused Sipsmith gin.
Is there any food?
The bar has a small-plates menu – we enjoyed well-made beef rib croquettes and a smoky burnt aubergine dip with toasted pitta bread.
Live jazz bands perform regularly in the bar and doors lead to a large dance floor where, on weekends, DJs play until the early hours.
Where to go nearby for dinner: Soho is packed with restaurants so you’re spoilt for choice – on Great Windmill Street there’s obviously Sophie’s upstairs or head to Blacklock for lusciously cooked chops piled high on flatbreads (check out more Soho restaurants here).
Insider tip: Snag one of the booths, which have curtains you can draw for extra privacy.
Price: Cocktails start at £13
Photographs by David Loftus
Written by Hannah Guinness