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Prohibition speakeasy-style bars that dabble in molecular mixology are two a penny these days. The beauty of Purl London is that its Marylebone doors have been open since 2007, making it a pre-cursor to the craze rather than a carbon copy in the ceaseless novelty. Like any 1920’s-inspired venue worth its salt, jazz music goes hand in hand at Purl. Monday nights see the newly launched Quintessentially Vodka sponsored Q Jazz Night, with live music beginning at 8pm, which runs every Monday through to May.

Purl has a similar vibe to Nightjar and Experimental Cocktail Club with furnishings from the Roaring 20’s and a bar lined with dozens of spirits and liquors. Purl also shares their environmentally friendly approach to lighting which encourages you to watch your step while also making sure you don’t take a wrong turn into an artfully exposed brick wall.


Of course cocktails play a mean role in any speakeasy themed lair. Here drinks include intricate concoctions with unpredictable ingredients, often served with an unusual accompaniment such as a chocolate cigar or pink peppercorn injected cherries.

Tonight we enjoyed the Q Jazz Night experience and cocktail menu consisting of three choices at £7 each. All three appear to be listed in descending order with regard to their sharpness:
Improper Martini: Quintessentially vodka, Tio Pepe, concentrated olive and caper flavours, atomised with pickled onion.
Blue Mule: Quintessentially vodka, lime, ginger syrup & cardamom bitters. Paired with blue cheese.
Meringue Sling: Quintessentially vodka, sloe gin, lemon & miniature meringue nests smashed berries.


The Improper Martini can only be described as “fuel”, with the olive, caper and pickled onion flavours severely masked by the dryness of the Tio Pepe. Served with a large green olive this is an aggressive choice that will be popular with Martini lovers.

Deceptive in its appearance and presentation is The Meringue Sling. Peachy in colour and served with a sweet meringue topped with dried raspberry pieces, it is more bitter than expected – offset by sampling a piece of its accompanying desert. Still sweet enough to make it the mildest of the three, it is slightly restricted by the narrow glass and dense frothy head acting as a cloak to the drink’s flavours and body.


The gold star on tonight’s menu is The Blue Mule, served in a Romeo and Juliet-esque poison bottle with a small piece of Cashel Blue cheese. We were recommended to nibble on the cheese before sipping the drink to enhance and maximise the tangy tones resulting in a bittersweet fusion for the senses. Excellent presentation and piquancy.

The music side of things was slightly underwhelming in its display – a pianist and a bassist play by the back wall of the lower den with their backs to the crowd and no audience interaction, which is not necessarily mandatory. The music itself will be a hit amongst jazz enthusiasts and despite Purl’s relatively small size, the performance is subtle enough for patrons to engage in conversation comfortably. Our musicians took a break at 9pm but this was only apparent on their return, with their absence having been understood to be the conclusion.

Tonight service was quite slow but this could be improved by more staff, with only one barman and cocktail waitress catering to a venue showcasing free live music. Overall, Purl is an enjoyable haunt that has an above average offering for a Monday night. It’s expansive and alluring cocktail menu is a real draw and with free live jazz, it looks set to be the place to go on a Monday night.


When: Every Monday from 8pm – 11pm

Where: Purl London, 50 – 54 Blandford Street, W1U 7HX, London

Bookings: clubs@quintessentially.com 

Social Media FACEBOOK: PurlLondon / Quintessentially Spirits TWITTER: @PurlLondon /@QSpirits INSTAGRAM: PurlLondon


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