Last summer, Mr Fogg’s arrived in Mayfair with a bang. A recreation of the home of Jules Verne’s most famous adventurer, Phileas Fogg, this eccentric cocktail-serving gem is the first West End venue from public school boys Charlie Gilkes and Duncan Stirling behind 80s nightclub Maggie’s, and Berlusconi-themed Battersea joint Bunga Bunga.
Down a deserted and graffitied backstreet in Mayfair, Mr Fogg’s doesn’t exactly blend into the background – the handsome doorman in full bellboy regalia kind of gives away that there’s something worth seeing behind that door, but stepping inside takes the eccentricity to a-whole-nother level. Modelled on the very Mayfair house in which Phileas Fogg would have resided after travelling Around the World in 80 Days, the bar is refined… yet totally off-the-wall.
All the staff are [beautiful and] dressed in bespoke old-fashioned Military uniforms by Gieves & Hawkes, and they play the part as acquaintances of Phileas, picked up on his travels from various corners of the globe.
Surrounded by artefacts and trinkets collected on his global travels, a game of Eye Spy could throw up any one of the following items:
An Indian tiger
A whole crocodile
Elephant’s foot umbrella stand
Busts of Phileas’ favourite pets, mounted upon the wall
Portraits of Queen Victoria and Fogg ancestry
Plus the very hot air balloon in which he circumnavigated the globe.
Not just an escape from the bustle of Mayfair, but a journey around the world, Mr Fogg’s dazzles before you’ve even got your paws on the menu. The drinks are a unique interpretation of “Victorian Cocktailian Culture”, with many old classics being revived with a modern twist, such as Absinthe Aperitifs, Gin Fizzes, Grog’s, Stirrup Cups and Pouce Cafés – not the cheapest, but well done – and we are in Mayfair. There are also sharing drinks straight out of the pages of Jules Verne’s novel, served in the form of globes, red indian’s heads, steam trains and antique punch bowls.
Always serving up the unexpected, the timing of your attendance could lead to sing-alongs around the piano, a Victorian horse and carriage out front, or even a visit from Mr Fogg himself (who will regale you with stories from his latest explorations). Mr Fogg’s takes you on a journey through countries, cultures and eras, always with an element of surprise – “just don’t be late – we’re on a tight schedule!”
A final surprise? Hearing readings of Jules Verne’s 1873 book as you sit on the toilet (in a similar vein to Thatcher’s speeches in the Maggie’s loos). The attention to detail of this place is quite sublime.
A date. This place is impressive, and definitely has the wow factor. If conversation runs dry, you can play Eye Spy – the décor creates an endless talking point.
Lots of suits, and twentysomethings funding their drunkenness with daddy’s money, but even they can’t be taken seriously in this ridiculous setting.
“Please dress suitably attired in an informal but elegant manner.”
15 Bruton Lane, Mayfair, London W1J 6JD
Monday–Wednesday: Precisely 5.01pm–01.01am
Thursday–Friday : Precisely 4.01pm–01.01am
Saturday: Precisely 5.01pm–01.01am