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Make your way down Marylebone High Street, turn a corner and namecheck yourself with the stranger standing outside the nondescript townhouse. Descend the stairs and you’ll be greeted by one of Purl’s hostesses and led to your table. This is not a place for the unadventurous, nor the meek. If ever a set of bartenders deserved the tired moniker of “mixologists”, then Purl’s would certainly be on the shortlist. Like a cross between the archaic and cerebral, the speakeasy feel of the bar is juxtaposed with the Heston Blumenthal-meets-Mr Hyde cocktails, served with panache on an array of esoteric receptacles, from porcelain teacups and test tube racks to brown paper bags and poison bottles. Flourishes add a tang of theatricality to the proceedings – dry ice and playful fruit caviars are house favourites – while the small grottos and dim lighting add an air of intimacy and exclusivity to the bar.
Drinks hover around the £10 mark, and it’s reservations only here, so make sure you book ahead, as showing up without is the quickest way to ensuring you’ll be flatly turned away.
Opening times: Monday - Thursday: 17:00 - 23:30, Friday - Saturday: 17:00 - 24:00, Sunday: 09:00 - 22:30