The Pinnacle Guide

SEXY FISH

London, UK

With a visually stupendous venue design, this Mayfair bar and restaurant is a mecca for Japanese whisky, forward-thinking cocktails and vibrant energy.

sexyfish.com
@sexyfishbar
Smart dress required

Restaurant reservations only
Limited availability for bar walk-ins
Accessible venue

AREAS OF EXCELLENCE

AREAS OF EXCELLENCE

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IMPORTANT TO KNOW

The bar at Sexy Fish is separate from the main restaurant – but it is all part of the same space. Reservations are only available for dining and the bar prioritises the customers with restaurant bookings – therefore at busy times, and especially at weekends, it may be difficult to purely visit the bar. Therefore if a restaurant reservation is not desired – it is advised to visit Sexy Fish early week.

DETAILS OF NOTE

Not just in the business of cocktails, Sexy Fish have their own beer that is produced by Coalition, a local London brewery, and was designed to pair well with Asian food, due to its clean finish. The wine list also includes some collaborations, such as a Sexy Fish Sancerre from Reverdy, an As One Cru Cabernet Sauvignon and a Sexy Pinot Noir, both from Napa Valley.

The Pinnacle Guide

1

Home to the world’s largest Japanese whisky collection, Sexy Fish London is a restaurant and bar in Mayfair serving up innovative drinks, sushi, seafood, and meat cooked on a Robata grill. Designed by Martin Brudnizki Design Studio and decorated with art by Damien Hirst, Frank Gehry and Michael Roberts, the look and feel is mid-century glamour and opulence. There is not a corner of this space overlooked, from the ceilings to the bathrooms, when it comes to the wow-factor of Sexy Fish.

As guests enter the venue they’re greeted by a sea of red leather banquettes and dining chairs spaced out across a marble floor. The bar area sits to the right, but beyond the pink-marble bar top, the indoor waterfall running behind this space, the ceiling-suspended fish sculptures and the many other surreal details of this venue, Sexy Fish runs a very serious food and drink program. 

The yearly-changing cocktail menu is a huge collaborative undertaking, with bartenders across the global Sexy Fish sites able to be involved. Concepts are brainstormed, the team proposes flavours and spirits they want to work with and then testing and trialling begins. Each venue will have a few of its own unique drinks, but every drink that makes it to any of the menus tends to have some form of prep involved which takes place off-site in a group beverage lab, be it infusion, distillation, oleos, sous vide or casein clarification. Cocktails are therefore very modern, often innovative and presented with a refined flare that sees highballs served over cracked clear ice, large hand-stamped block ice for Old Fashioneds or Negronis and intentionally outlandish garnishes. 

With such a large-scale operation, careful ordering is imperative as is stock rotation. They have made a conscious effort to reduce the fresh fruit on the bar and any leftover ingredients are packaged and sent twice weekly to the lab who repurpose and distribute throughout the wider company.

All the hard work in the prep lab results in a bar team with more time to spend on guest service and drinks that are consistent be it 4pm or 11pm. Guests to the bar will notice they are served by one half of the Sexy Fish bar, while the other focuses on restaurant orders. Above them, the huge Japanese whisky collection sits on the bar’s shelves. One of the most unexpected elements here is that many of these bottles have been opened and tasted by the bar alongside some of the UK’s whisky experts in order to write personal tasting notes for guests looking to order by the dram.

Invested in the business of selling fun, as the bar says, the energy is always high at Sexy Fish. There is a DJ playing every day, with service segmented into styles from lunch all the way till late night. The team are also instrumental in this big-energy vibe, from ringing bells, to dancing on the fridges, their style of service really impacts how guests relax into this always-on party.

Taking care of the staff is equally important to Sexy Fish and they truly are champions of internal promotion. Most senior management across the entire global business started at a junior level and now occupy the roles of Director of Beverages, Head of Bars, Openings and Support Bars Manager to name but some. The bar stations are considerately designed for all heights and when not working – the back of house area provides a ‘family’ meal twice a day. 

“Wow, and then some. Even the ceiling is perfect. It feels like you are entering an alternate world, and when you leave you feel like you've been transported.”

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