Park Plaza County Hall pre-openingSpectrum is a bright set of colours with a beam of light separating them. Spectrum which is located at the contemporary Park Plaza County Hall hotel near Waterloo station like its name is ablaze with colour. The bar takes the colours and mixes them into a funky, fun space, making the perfect location for a drink.

Modern lighting and cool background beats greeted my companion and I as we cruised through the hotel foyer to Spectrum Bar and parked ourselves in a comfortable booth. Private enough for a cosy chat yet also large enough for six friends to meet for cocktails, international beers or tasty tapas. The bar was busy, with travellers and funksters lined up along the high stools which run along the sides of the bright bar or facing its backlit glass display.

My companion and I were presented with an extensive cocktail list by a friendly waitress. The bar menu scored top points for coolness straight away, featuring a quote from the original James Bond novel by Ian Fleming – Casino Royale. Creations ranged from Bond’s favourite –the Extra Dry Martini – to the B&B which Spectrum’s menu claims is “possibly the first cocktail ever…”.

I went for a Long Island Iced Tea which was exactly how it should be – long, strong and very refreshing. My drinking companion opted for a Vanilla Cosmopolitan which she assured me was delicious enough to sweeten even the coolest sourpuss. Spoilt for choice, we pondered the rest of the menu’s sections: Martinis, Exotic, Sparklings, The Cosmopolitans, Strictly Spirit, Coolers and The Classics – where to choose from next?

The menu even has a dedicated section to the fabulous Brazilian Caipirinha, featuring four types of cachaças (Brazilian rum) and a whopping total of 11 different types of Caipirinha – fantastic if you feel like trying something new.

ppch-spectrum-restaurant-blueI opted for a Chilli Cosmopolitan, a blend of fresh chilli, Stolichnaya vodka, cranberry juice, Cointreau and lime juice, which was warming and hit the spot. My companion couldn’t decide so we reverted to the barman for his suggestion and he created her a unique blend of crushed raspberries and strawberries, vanilla Absolute vodka and champagne. She thoroughly enjoyed this, and the barman’s experiment is definitely a good way to impress a guest.

During our second cocktail, the music changed to a carnival flavour and we followed the sound upstairs to the second bar area next to the restaurant, to find ten carnival dancers in full Rio costumes dancing for a group of private diners, who had hired the restaurant for the night. It brought us back to our very own Flavour sound stage at Notting Hill Carnival – a taste of the exotic. As the scantily clad samba dancers continued to shake and Rumba, we savoured the last of our drinks in Spectrum Bar.

As James Bond would certainly say, our night in Spectrum Bar was certainly shaken, not stirred….

Spectrum Bar, Park Plaza County Hall, 1 Addington Street, London SE1 7RY. 020 7021 1920

Words by Leonard Foser

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