The Pinnacle Guide

THE SPY BAR AT
RAFFLES LONDON

London, UK

With its stand-out design elements, rich history, and exceptional service, The Spy Bar offers a unique experience for anyone seeking a taste of the clandestine world of espionage.

AREAS OF EXCELLENCE

AREAS OF EXCELLENCE

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ENVIRONMENTAL ENDEAVOURS

Raffles has a no single use plastic policy within the hotel. The Spy Bar specifically works with ecoSPIRITS – a company that reduces single use glass. By receiving spirits in 6 litre eco totes, it reduces the carbon footprint of deliveries. The team also ensures that no house made ingredient goes to waste and repurpose anything left over to create the complimentary welcome drink for the next service.

DETAILS OF NOTE

The Spy Bar is located in the building where British writer Ian Fleming came up with the idea for the James Bond spy novels while working as a British Naval Intelligence Officer. Originally completed in 1906, the landmark building has undergone an eight-year renovation that saw hundreds of artisans drafted in to restore historic elements, including oak panelling and hand laid mosaic flooring.

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Tucked away in the depths of Raffles Hotel, this clandestine establishment pays homage to the secret world of the Old War Office, where tales of espionage and historic decisions make a fun backdrop for this immersive bar space.

Accessible down a corridor to an unmarked wall in the hotel, upon entering, guests will hear mysterious music in the reception before they find themselves in the bar. Unmissable and creating an instant wow-factor is the sight of a real Aston Martin embedded in the wall behind the bar – the iconic vehicle is not only synonymous with James Bond but the one found at Spy Bar was actually used in the movies. 

The venue exudes a dark and cosy atmosphere, it is built into the body of the building and has exposed piping and brickwork, but is very thoughtfully designed and in keeping with the history of the building and its theme. Comfortable seating and low lighting set the stage for the drinks and service to shine. True to the secretive theme of the bar – phone photography is forbidden, although they will provide a polaroid camera so that guests can still capture the moment. 

The bar’s menu is a testament to its commitment to storytelling, drawing inspiration from the rich history of the Old War Office. Fictional and real figures like Winston Churchill, James Bond and Christine Granville influence the cocktails, so too do organisations like MI5 and MI6, which were founded in this building’s basement. Drinks are served in clean-cut glassware, with garnishes that subtly enhance the flavours while the use of clear ice adds a touch of sophistication. The bar’s signature drink, the Vesper Martini, is given a modern twist with the addition of a house made London honey distillate, adding rich, floral notes to the classic recipe and complemented by the bar’s own vermouth blend. It is also, notably, available alcohol-free.

A lot of the work for the cocktails at The Spy Bar happens behind the scenes at the laboratory in the hotel, offering staff the chance to enhance and pull out flavours with a rotary evaporator or create innovative carbonated drinks with a perlage carbonation system. Many of the cocktails are pre-batched to give guests consistent drinks and bar staff the ability to spend more time in service. Raffles Hotel has also invested in its own filtration system for water – minimising the need for additional plastic or glass bottles. 

One of the standout features of The Spy Bar is its impressive vintage collection of rare spirits, some dating back hundreds of years. From rare bottlings of The Macallan to bespoke creations made exclusively for Raffles, there’s a lot for guests to look at and discuss with staff who are well-versed in the stories of the bar and its selection of drinks.  

The small team at The Spy Bar know how to play to strengths and split their time evenly between the floor, the bar and the laboratory. However they never skip briefing before service to ensure the whole team is fully prepared and ready for the night ahead. To ensure they remain at their very best, the hotel provides many extra facilities through their Employee Assistance Programs – which includes therapy sessions, health insurance, wellbeing support as well as staff meals and taxis home if working late. 

“I would absolutely bring friends and guests here, it's a real find, swimming in history and extremely well executed, the service and drinks were outstanding.”

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