Berry Bros. & Rudd is Britain’s oldest wine and spirit merchant. So old its shop opened on St. James’ Street 314 years ago. So old it received a letter from White Star Line Services apologising for a shipment lost when the Titanic struck an iceberg and foundered at 2-20am in 1912 – see exhibit A.
Exhibit A can be found in the six month old Berry Bros. & Rudd Bar in the Royal Albert Hall basement. The bar is elegantly old fashioned, filled with leather sofas, black & white photos and a long, impressive bar that curves to the shape of the hall.
The bar fed and watered us on Maundy Thursday before we went upstairs to watch Foals in our box (la de da). I use the word ‘watered’ loosely as there wasn’t a drop of H2O in sight, just a Negroni (£9.50), French 75 (£11.50) and a Rhubarb & 3 (£9.50).
These No. 3 London Dry Gin Cocktails share the menu with Classic Cocktails, wines and spirits. I was sad not to see my favourite White Lady gin cocktail on the menu and even sadder to hear it wasn’t part of the bartender’s repertoire. But hey, I wasn’t holding it against them.
There was also a list of oh so important bar snacks on the menu. Split into Light Bites, Sharing Boards and Pudding, we chose the Spanish Charcuterie Sharing Board with Teruel ham, Salchichon De Vic, Chorizo Magno Teruel Lomo, Torta de Acelle, almonds and caper berries (£20 for two people). All that, and just one ‘light bite’ – Rillettes of Pork, Scotch Egg, crackling, celeriac remoulade, cornichons and sour dough (£8.50).
As bar snacks go, these were up there with the best. The portions were substantial and the combinations far from flat. Standout for me were the sweet Rillettes of Pork and the crunchy, non-greasy crackling. The Scotch Egg also had a lovely flavour, even though it lacked the runny centre I’d hoped for.
The bar was busy by the time we left, so I’d definitely recommend booking if you’re after a seat. It’s the perfect place to eat, drink and be merry in anticipation of what you’re about to see, so I’ll give Berry Bros. & Rudd Bar a LLE Rating of 7.5/10.
Berry Bros. & Rudd Bar, Royal Albert Hall, Kensington Gore, London SW7 2AP