If, like me, you prefer ‘apres ski’ to actual skiing, then skip the slopes altogether and get cosy at ‘Hampshire Lounge Bar’s ‘Winter Lounge’ pop-up.
Open until the end of February, the hotel bar has transformed the outside into a welcome haven from the slow-walkers and toe-squashers of Leicester Square.
So, what can you expect? Once you’re comfortably seated – or rather perched – on one of their stools, you might fancy a bite to eat.
Well if you’re looking for healthy, forget it. Leave your diet at the door and choose from their (rather limited) menu of gourmet grilled cheese sandwich or rack of honey-glazed ribs.
The scattered rosemary tipped the grilled cheese sandwich from good to great, and the ribs, which were literally smothered in sauce, practically fell of the bone. But in the age of food awareness, and with more of us trying out ‘Veganuary’ than ever before, I couldn’t help but wonder if the ski bar had missed a trick through their lack of vegan options.
For the less-health conscious amongst us, you would be mad not to dig in to a dessert. If their out-of this-world bubble waffle, complete with dulche de leche ice cream and caramelised pecans doesn’t do it for you, you might want to try one of their incredibly indulgent cocktails. Not for the faint hearted, warm white fudge cocoa with rum and oreos is almost too sickly, even for a self-confessed sugar addict like myself. The mulled wine is more manageable, and a perfect accompaniment for a cold night.
Their rioja wine slipped down too easily, and it was over multiple glasses of this that my friend and I lost an evening to chatting and people-watching. Okay, so the view of Leicester Square might not compare to the French Alps, but the ambience makes the whole experience a pretty good alternative. One of the only downfalls is that when we asked if, hypothetically, we could take our drinks to the inside bar, we were told we must stay outside in the pop-up.
But hey – with warm drinks, comfy stools and heaters surrounding you, you can’t really complain. You have until the end of next month to check it out, so get your skis off and your skates on, and prepare for an evening of indulgence!