The Perseverance Marylebone is a new speakeasy style cocktail bar with live jazz, located in the heart of Marylebone. We wander down to check out what makes this spot different and worthy of a visit.
Tucked away down a quiet backstreet five minutes from Marylebone station sits The Perseverance Marylebone – a new speakeasy concept from David Miller (ex-Merchant House) housed in a newly renovated, open-plan pub. Inside, fluted leather banquettes line one corner of sizable space, with white marble design tables and tan leather-backed chairs completing the setting. For now, the original bar – lit from above with industrial pendant lighting – remains in the middle of the room as a centrepiece. However this will be changing to allow shelving for the bar’s impressive collection of over 200 bottles of spirits. Following the bar round, we spy a well lit studded orange banquette, clinging to a section of exposed brickwork. Sweet, squat velvet stools are dotted around small side tables to create a dynamic space for parties of all sizes. Next to it, a huge and stylishly retro sofa flanked by palm trees offers another area for larger groups.
“Speakeasy” is a word that has been bandied about a lot over the past 10 years to describe any cocktail bar with dim lighting and the occasional jazz act, so it’s nice to see a venue that is shaking the vibe but shaking up the decor a wee bit.
The Menu – Drinks and Snacks
We take our place on the light tangerine corner seating (the perfect spot for surveying the whole venue from) and are greeted with a Macadamia Sour welcome drink – an amazing palate cleanser with a Biscotti aroma and moreish nuttiness balanced by sharp fresh lemon. As we sip, David explains to us that they use an allergy-free moonshine from O’Donnell to make the drink, ensuring that even those with a nut allergy can enjoy this beauty.
We peruse the menu and notice an array of timeless classics as well as a collection of imaginative modern twists and signature creations. Whisky flights are offered at reasonable prices (£20 – £35), giving all the opportunity to try five drams from various countries or of specific finishes. Those looking for more nerdy bottlings are also able to have bespoke flights made to suit their needs. For those more taken with gin, flights of three gins paired with a bottle of tonic water are available at £20. Wines – including some notable organics and skin-contact options – are available, as are some general beers.
As we’re a bit peckish, we’re delighted to see that a Cheese & Charcuterie Board is offered, complete with crackers, fig jelly, chutney, and grapes (£12 for three options; £19 for five). Smaller nibbles such as Hummus & Vegetable Dippers (£6), Bread & Olive Oil with Balsamic Vinegar (£5), and Cheese bites (£3) are also available.
After some um-ing and ah-ing, we elect to start with the Persevere The Prohibition (£13) and Exotic Spice (£13). The first arrives as a frozen old fashioned glass with ice formed in the bottom half, alongside a whisky flask stamped with the bar’s name. David pours the Bourbon, Benedictine, chocolate bitters, and salt water concoction onto the ice and garnishes with an orange twist. The simple yet effective concept goes some way to blow our tiny minds with its effective dilution method encouraging slow-sipping and flavour development. Not only that, it looks beautiful and is a super easy way to serve a twist on an Old Fashioned that we’ve never seen before. Once we’ve come to terms with the novelty of this minor genius moment, we can focus on the drink itself. Benedictine adds depth and earthy herbaceousness that compliment the deep chocolate bitters and play with the whiskey’s aged character. The salinity allows the brighter, orange and honeyed notes of Bourbon to sing whilst adding a grown-up savoury note that we love as a replacement for a sweetener. As the glass heats up and the ice dilutes, the top notes become clearer and the spice notes warm up, creating a lovely drink.
Exotic Spice is a very different but absolutely delicious beast. Served in a tall tiki mug and crowned with a foamy top, this gorgeous highball is fresh and bright. Oodles of tropical, funky flavour from Merchant Choice Guyanese Rum and deep spice from Kings Ginger Liqueur, come together with tart pineapple and lime to result in a complex cocktail that is way too smashable!
As we try to pry the bamboo tiki vessel from our companion’s steely grip, screaming at them to share the final dregs, Sweet Cherry (£14) and Sweet Ginger (£10) are placed before us, prompting a change in heart. Sweet Cherry is a thick and robing shortie with classic Appleton character highlighting the red fruit in the Maraschino Cherry syrup. Earthy chocolate seduces the robust, full-bodied herbaceousness and nutty funk of the Luxardo Maraschino liqueur, combining with it and the rum to create a decadent sipper with a lasting finish. Sweet Ginger (O’Donnell Roasted Apple Moonshine, vodka, lemon, apple, ginger beer) is equally as pleasant. Apple takes centre stage with notes of roasted, oxidised, juicy, and tart fruit all coming together with balanced lemon and delicately spicy ginger beer.
David returns to check in and to natter with us about the bar, which first opened at the end of 2021. He tells us how he left hospitality to go into a corporate job but always wanted to open a bar of his own. After some back and forth, he realised that, if he didn’t give it a go now, he would regret it forever. They got the keys to the building on 17th November and opened on 5th December – a pretty insane turnaround to transform an old school boozer into a swish cocktail bar!
Taxman (£10) and Kentucky Butter (£13) are next and quickly become our favourite drinks so far. The poor ol’ taxed vessel (purchased from The Gibson during one of Marian Beke’s many glassware clearouts) depicts a crumpled face weeping at his fate, and very much looks like it needs to be lovingly held. We concede and are rewarded with an incredible array of flavours that is unexpected and exceptional! Sweet and fruity Red Label tonic wine from Wray & Nephews is a complete revelation on its own, however when combined with Velvet Falernum, Triple Sec, Luxardo Morello Cherry, and lemon, the result is a heavenly cocktail full of warm spice, bright citrus, and deep red fruit. Honestly, this is an outstanding and original bevvie that we hope never leaves the menu. Kentucky Butter is also a solidly good choice that comes with a popcorn garnish. Butter fat-washed Buffalo Trace Bourbon adds a beautiful texture with vermouth bringing a bitter herbal note that works with toffee liqueur to create a balanced and interesting offering.
Before we’re allowed out into the world, David presents us with two more favourites from the menu, and we realise that the drinks are getting more and more original.
Floral 75 (£12) proves itself to be an amazingly light, carbonated dream, resembling something from Beauty & the Beast. Florality in cocktails can often be overpowering however, here rose liqueur is balanced with bright lemon, juicy apple, tart hibiscus, and gentle juniper in a winning combo. The glassware (from our favourite distribution point, The Lucky Drinker) is iconic and ultimately Instagrammable, but we’re delighted that the liquid holds up to its container.
Last up, Invitation (£14) arrives in a Chanel No.5 style perfume bottle, which is poured at the table into a chilled Nick & Nora. Hayman’s Gin, Moonshine Wild Berry, Lemon, 9E Centenaria Chartreuse come together to form a surprisingly robust and full drink with light florals, tart berry notes, and almost lemon curd like notes. It’s a beautiful ending to an evening of escalating delights and we wander into the night feeling excited by what we’ve experienced.
The Perseverance Marylebone pleasantly surprised us with its interesting array of spirits, well-crafted cocktails, and warm service. What at first looked like your usual new opening aiming to profit off of casual spins on classic cocktails, turned out to be a wonderful new spot with incredibly well-thought-out, inventive, and complex cocktails. David and team have done a lot in a very short period of time to create a space with feeling and a solid offering, and we cannot wait to see how they get on in the coming months!
The Perseverance Marylebone, 11 Shroton St, London, NW1 6UG