Swift, London W1: cocktail bar review
Try spicy tequila cocktails, new-wave manhattans and oysters at this acclaimed Soho bar
Where is it? A four-minute walk from Leicester Square underground station.
What’s the vibe?
Swift is a two-part affair, with a buzzy, casual space on the ground floor – best for walk-ins – and a sultrier underground lounge with sleek crescent booths, inky black tables and moody lighting.
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What’s the drinks menu like at Swift?
The Upstairs Bar serves lighter aperitif cocktails (try the signature sgroppino, with lemon sorbet, prosecco and Italicus) while down below focusses on darker spirits, particularly whiskey, of which they have a 250-strong collection. The latest menu is helpfully divided by taste: Bright, Delicate, Stiff and Rich.
Which cocktails to order?
Cocktails downstairs are elegant and pared back. In the crystalline, super-clean Ice Maiden, dry, biscuity champagne adds depth to Belvedere vodka, Lillet Blanc and St George pear brandy. The New Amsterdam – a riff on the manhattan – sees Rittenhouse rye whiskey, Martini Ambrato, gentian vermouth and Old Diff genever make a subtly fruity drink with a clean, almost creamy mouthfeel and a satisfyingly boozy kick. In the Chameleon, the vegetal notes of Olmeca Altos Blanco tequila prove a perfect match for Ancho Verde, green pepper, coriander, lime and pineapple eau de vie in a spicy, savoury creation.
Is there any food?
There’s a simple bar snacks menu with house spiced nuts, Castelvetrano olives and chilli rice crackers, plus brioche rolls with seasonal fillings. Pop in from 3-6pm every day for fresh oysters.
Anything else? Visit on Friday and Saturday evenings for live jazz and blues downstairs.
Where to go nearby for dinner: It’s a five-minute walk to Barrafina, on Dean Street, for acclaimed Spanish tapas.
Price: From £8 for a cocktail.