Shhhhhhhhhhhhh! It’s the LIBRARY London…
By Tom Wilkinson
Just off of Trafalgar Square is the LIBRARY London, a private members’ club launched by entrepreneur Ronald Ndoro.
While the entrance may be unassuming, once inside the hallway opens up into a delightful bar area. At the end is a small stage and above are two mezzanines with leather armchairs to relax in. In the basement, there is a discreet speakeasy with its own bar that caters to smaller groups. Finally, there are also private rooms and a restaurant available for hire.
The bar itself is designed in a style reminiscent of a large bookcase. At the lower end, the commonly used glasses and spirits fill the shelves, but as you look further up these give way to the finer spirits, bottles of champagne, and books. Meanwhile on the bar itself a selection of herbs, spices, and handmade bitters form a focal point as you watch the bar staff mix delightful concoctions.
During the day, the overall mood is one of quiet calm. An enviable relief from the bustling metropolis just outside and a perfect spot to work on a novel of your own. By night, the bar becomes a vibrant centre to the room as guests enjoy a range of literary cocktails while awaiting events on the LIBRARY’s busy calendar.
London’s Big Read
Throughout March, the LIBRARY hosts London’s annual Big Read. I was fortunate enough to see a talk by actor Paterson Joseph with readings from his new book: Julius Caesar and Me. The readings highlighted not only his personal journey in acting but his desire to help people of all backgrounds to appreciate Shakespeare. In his own words: “If I could get it without any training then anybody could.”
The LIBRARY aims to stand out amongst other private members clubs by offering a wide variety of exclusive events. Not only do they host the Big Read every year, but upcoming events include live music, workshops, talks, cocktail evenings as well as evenings with other authors.
On entering I was presented with a welcome cocktail of vodka, soda, and angostura bitters. While sounding bitter, the cucumber garnish helped lift the drink and led to a very light and refreshing libation. A perfect accompaniment to the tales being presented.
The LIBRARY’s signature cocktails are all themed around famous writers. As a gin and tonic fan I had to sample the Virginia Woolf. This mixture of gin, tonic, and cream doesn’t sound like it should work at all yet, the end result is a unique and smooth experience. The drink has two distinct phases of flavour: at first you get the mixture of cream and gin, which is smooth and delicious; second you get the tonic aftertaste you’d expect in a gin and tonic. As the flavours don’t mingle, you get a journey in a drink.
Make sure to check out their other literary themed drinks when you visit.
Membership of the LIBRARY London is £1,100 per year, or £110 per month. For more details visit the membership page at http://www.lib-rary.com/membership.
Contributing Editor Tom Wilkinson makes cocktails in his spare time and podcasts about their history at Dr Wilko’s Campaign for Better Beverages. He also produces two other podcasts: Hat of Many Things, on random topics drawn from a hat and Unparliamentary Language about the state of British politics.