A new city hot spot for the champagne lover
- 14 February 2013
- Bethan Morgan
Nestled under the chic Blackfriars Crown Plaza, The Vaults at Voltaire is London’s newest city hang out. With our exclusive launch party invite touting the venue as an ‘exquisite champagne and cigar bar’, we were eager to sample this mysterious new venue.
We arrived at around 7.30pm, only a little fashionably late, ticked off the guest list and walked down the stone steps to the underground bar. As we made our way past the vaults and inside it was clear that the venue was buzzing with an eclectic crowd, from impossibly pretty models and suited-and-booted city bankers to cool London socialites and fashionable dandies.
Passing the outside vaults, my eye fleetingly caught the incongruous sight of a very pretty girl, clad in fur, behind some bars. ‘Strange’ I thought but the free Pommery champagne was more of a draw. (Incidentally, Voltaire apparently has the largest selection of Pommery in London.)
First impressions of the bar itself were very good indeed. Running almost the whole length of the space, it’s a real feature in its own right, tastefully designed with all the spirits on show to accommodate the large cocktail menu, many of which are concocted with herbs and fruits, created in partnership with the Temple Spa skincare range (order one of these and you actually get a free skincare sample!). The focal point however is the ‘Pommery Library’ which showcases the extensive collection of champagne, including the nine litre Salmanazar.
As my guest and I started to unwind, I was in for a shock as I suddenly noticed a bikini-clad dancer writhing around in an eight-foot martini glass. My immediate thought was how cold she must be, although she was by all means an expert wriggler! I was a little confused as to how this image fitted in with the general theme of exclusive luxury. Later in the evening, another lady appeared, this time in gold swimwear and painted from head to toe in gold body paint. Perhaps some tenuous link to the venue’s former life as a bank? It was a little too strip bar for my liking, but then on opening night, you can forgive the PRs for a little ‘Dita Von Tees-ing’.
Entertainment aside, the main draw of this new bar is its décor and unusual floor plan, for this is a place that raises your curiosity levels by virtue of its design.
There is a cigar terrace with outside heating, a lounge area within the main bar complete with slouchy shabby chic seating, and leather-clad booths for more intimate get-togethers. And then of course there are the vaults, which serve as little VIP pockets for parties of two to 12, along the side of the cigar terrace. Each of these is gated – perhaps where the gold bullion was once stashed?!
Above: Standing at the long bar and right, on the cigar terrace.
I doubt whether you’ll meet any topless men here again (yes there were some of those around too) or any bikini-clad dancers, but Voltaire is going to attract a good post-work crowd and I can’t imagine you’d ever have a dull night out here, not with all the champagne on offer!