Sweeties is a cocktail bar & late-night spot situated on the 10th floor of The Standard Hotel, with a menu that champions feel-good ingredients and energising adaptogens and nootropics. We head on up to see if our spirits can be lifted by the new spot.
Sweetie’s stretches across the eastern length of the landmark Brutalist building that houses The Standard. As we enter, we’re struck by the size of the place. A hugely high ceiling and wrap-around, full-length windows create a vast area that the design team (led by Shawn Hausman) has somehow made feel warm and inviting.
Dusty pink organza curtains are held back by elegantly braided rope during the day, and released over the windows at night to give the feeling of a private party hidden from the world. Cosy raised seating by the entrance gives way to a long bar space with counter seating, trailing into gorgeously plush, intimate pocket spaces furnished with the most amazing burnt orange love chair sofas and royal blue puffs, positioned in the perfect location to soak up the sights of the city below. Walls, the DJ booth and the bar are lined with light walnut-coloured panelling that fits perfectly with the 1970s Hollywood glam vibes, and towering custom-made stack-style Funktion-One sound systems ooze warming sounds throughout the bar.
In short, this is a stunning, slinky affair that packs a true wow-factor and makes you instantly feel like an uber-cool hotshot with the glammest ticket in town.
We take our seats on our crushed velvet orange sofa and peruse the menu. Divided into Body, Mind, and Soul, there’s a progression from bright and light cocktails through to heavier serves, ending in the sweeter, creamier, dessert-like drinks. The incredible Supernacular – founded by Jack Sotti and Todd Austin – is behind the menu so we know we’re in good hands. Jack tells us that they wanted to craft a list of drinks that included ingredients known to have mind and body-boosting properties. They won’t stop you from getting a hangover if you overindulge but the use of adaptogenic mushrooms, gut-friendly fermentations, and superfood spirulina, may do something to make your body happy.
We decided to start from the top with the wonderfully named Frothy Boi and Roots Manuva. Both come quickly and are served in beautiful, tulip-shaped glassware. Frothy Boi (£18) is similar in style to a classic Clover Club but pairs pink peppercorn and bay leaf-infused Tanqueray London Dry Gin with an amazingly textural, Yorkshire forced rhubarb and koji-fermented oat foam. This is topped with a glass disc elevating what Todd calls a “super raspberry” that has been spiked with a drop of the inimitable Capreolus Raspberry Eau de Vie (seriously – read about these folks: what they’re doing is out of this world). The foam is light and fluffy with a gentle oaty character and a light fermented note, that works beautifully with the tart, fruity liquid below. The raspberry eau de vie supercharges the berry, making it taste incredibly ripe and adding supple fruitiness to the drink as a whole.
Roots Manuva (£18) has an aroma of turmeric and floral heather honey. On the palate, delightfully earthy turmeric, ginseng, and ginger combine with sweet golden beet and bright orange, whilst mead supports with robing sweetness. Vermouth adds herbaceousness, bringing the spices together and completing the very healthy tasting drink.
Moving onto the Mind section, we decide to go all in and order all three: Pick Me Up (£19), Purple Rain (£19), and The Martini (£14). Pick Me Up (Ketel One vodka, Eminente rum, coffee, eight adaptogenic mushrooms, caramel, burnt butter) is amazing and, as Jack describes it, as if
“An Old Fashioned and an Espresso Martini went on a mushroom trip and had a baby”.
Robust coffee meets deep mushroom caramel in a bizarrely perfect way. Eminente’s light sweetness and burnt butter add a rich roundness to the offering, providing a wonderful base for the mushrooms’ umami and darker coffee bean notes.
A cherry blossom balancing on a slice of salted plum, tickles the nose with delicate florality as we sip Purple Rain. Amazake adds sweet sour notes that combine with Johnnie Walker Black Label whisky, blossom wine and the powerful plum (which we would happily eat a bowl of). Cherry wood adds an astringency and dry texture that gives the drink a grown-up feel.
Cucumber and fino sherry waft up from The Martini, with white tea coming later with something like dry bamboo. The drink as a whole is evocative of a trip to the spa with fresh cucumber water, a nearby sauna, and herbal teas. We rather enjoy this transportation although the lack of a booze hit makes it a bit of a departure from our expectation.
We move onto the final section for some Soul. WAP (Casamigos Blanco tequila, schisandra & black cardamom, milk jam, egg yolk, heather honey; £18) is likened to a creamy black cardamom eggnog with some chai mix thrown in. Through some kind of wizardry, it is indulgent without being dense and doesn’t make you feel sickly like so many digestif-style do by the last sip. Holy Thursday (£18) smashes holy basil together with mint, cacao husk and burnt white chocolate in an insanely aromatic concoction finished with sake and vodka. Divinely full-bodied with minty white chocolate and a gentle lactic note, a touch of aniseed from the basil picks the drink up whilst mint lingers on the palate.
We end on a high with the incredible No Whey Jose (£19). Warm, dense, salted coconut foam with a touch of lime leaf sits atop a cold, rose petal-infused Volcán De Mi Tierra Blanco tequila, strawberry, and puffed red rice cocktail. The sensation of sipping between temperatures is titillating and the flavours dance between minerality, bright fruit, and earthy undertones. The tequila works perfectly with the strawberry and rose wine to deliver an absolute knockout drink that is fun, complex, intriguing, and downright smashable!
We finally prise ourselves from our lofty seat and make our way out of the venue (passed a six-foot antique phallic sculpture – as you do). Sweeties is a true treat to visit. The atmosphere is one all of its own: alluring, romantic, and dynamic – a place where time stands still and electricity sparks all around. The sound from the custom system is warm, rich, and at the perfect level, and the service friendly. The cocktails are amazingly complex, imaginative, and perfectly balanced, with each boasting its own distinct personality. The prices are steep but what you’d expect from a high-end hotel in such a gorgeous setting. If you’re looking for a great night out with beautifully crafted cocktails in a stunning location, Sweeties is the spot for you.
From 24th February, Sweeties will be open from 5pm on Wednesday to Saturday each week (Wednesday, 5pm-11pm; Thursday – Saturday, 5pm-late). Reservations are recommended and can be made via SevenRooms here.
Sweeties at The Standard London, 10 Argyle Street, London, WC1H 8EG