Having lived in Notting Hill for more than six months now, I’d had yet to find my ‘local’ drinking nest. “How can it be so difficult?” I pondered every time I ordered a wine, examining the glass for someone else’s lipstick.
Then, just a couple of days ago, my prayers were answered. I was on a hot date, which started with lunch on High Street Kensington, before a visit to a local cinema. After having wine spilled all over my leg and jacket by the person in front of me in the middle of the movie, we both took it as an invite from the universe/ cupid/ faith to have a nice drink afterwards to help get over the incident (and to continue the fun evening).
We walked up a beautifully lit and peaceful Portobello Road, in search of that one last drink. I always forget how stunning the road is, once the market stalls have cleared and the tourists have left. The air was crisp and oozing with (Halloween) magic.
Then we saw it, right there next to a display of coats, housed in a beautiful Notting Hill – style townhouse… The Portobello Star. A bar I visited a couple of times a few years ago and passed by many times since I moved to the area. Hard to spot in the daytime on market days, but at night it shined like a beacon of light, inviting us in.
We walked inside the bar and were welcomed by a smart and sassy ambiance, with added hint of ‘sexy’. We sat down on tall bar stools and spent a little while soaking up the atmosphere and examining the menu, which was made to look like an old newspaper. The DJ was playing funky soul music, further fuelling the moody vibe.
Portobello Star reopened this October under new management of the Marmalade Pub Company. The company specialises in handmade liquors and a rich collection of house infused spirits, guaranteed to satisfy even the most demanding taste buds. Their specially handcrafted blends are created by a team of very talented and skilled mixologists and cooked up in a central London laboratory.
And if hunger strikes, fear not! There are several options to ‘order in’ food direct to your table.
We originally stopped by for one drink, but with such an exciting menu, we couldn’t resist the delicious offerings and had a good go at the cocktail list.
We started with ‘Russian Spring Punch’ and ‘Breakfast Margarita’ and moved through ‘Walter White’ and ‘Oh My!’. We finished with ‘Morning Glory’ and ‘Wibble’, by which point we had indeed started to wibble-wobble. On reflection, the chronological order in which we spontaneously chose our drinks is something to be quite proud of.
To my delight, I discovered that above the main bar, Portobello Star offers a party space available for private events. The event area even comes with its own butler, serving up drinks from the private bar. This very on-trend touch it offers the opportunity to create a lavish event in an intimate, home-like environment, but without having to worry about clearing up after. Now that’s my birthday party sorted!
Th Portobello Star is already making its mark on the local area, and to add to the charm, punters can enjoy a Two for £12 Happy Hour on Signature Cocktails between 3pm – 7pm Monday to Thursday, and a resident DJ on Friday and Saturday nights.
It looks like I may finally have found my new local!
- Portobello Star, 171 Portobello Rd, Notting Hill, London W11 2DY; Phone: 020 7229 8016; Nearest tube: Notting Hill. Website here.