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Bar 190 (Bar, Hotel)

Picture of Bar 190 in Kensington, London

Gore Hotel, 190 Queens Gate, Kensington, London, SW7 5EU
Cuisine: [Other/Unclassified]
Tel: 020 7581 5666 | Email to Bar 190 | Transport: Gloucester Road | Write review

Bar 190 Review

The Gore Hotel is proper rock n roll. Apparently.

The Rolling Stones, Spandau Ballet, Duran Duran, Paul Weller; they’ve all been clients of this Kensington establishment. So, have the ghostly auras of its former guests provided Bar 190 with an unexpected cockiness? In a word: no, because Bar 190 is about as rock n roll as afternoon tea with your Nan; without biscuits. You see, sadly, the client list also contains the likes of Take That, The Kooks and Kelly Brook. Yeeeahhhhh, rock and freaking roll, man!

But then, if you were located next door to the Imperial College, one street up from the Science AND Natural History Museums, and only a £3 black cab ride from the Royal Albert Hall, you probably wouldn’t feel like throwing a TV out of the window either.

Peering further down the list of former guests, however, it’s easy to paint a more accurate picture of what a night at Bar 190 might entail: Sony, Manolo Blahnik, Gucci, Louis Vuitton. There’s $omething that $mells very £amiliar about these names, it’$ just hard to put a £inger on what, though.

When the roads - nay, boulevards - are wide enough to park your private jet in, sideways, and when the row after row of grand Victorian porches are simply there only to provide a vantage point for your Embassy flag, then it’s fair to say that there’s some serious wonga floating about these parts. Which means Bar 190 should be approached accordingly.

With its segmented seclusion of guests, Bar 190 is the socialising equivalent of playtime at primary school, only with slightly less hair-pulling. Not great for groups of less than two. Perfect for the two (possibly gay) gents at the bar who look like they’ve just stepped off ‘the set’. They seem to be enjoying themselves.

The odd lobby-and-staircase, Tetris-piece shape of Bar 190 means there’s no focal point and it’s main function appears to be as a thoroughfare between said grand porch and the function rooms downstairs. This proves to be exceedingly distracting; especially when an excellent operatic duo is attempting to provide live entertainment for the evening. The accomplished singers suddenly become half muted background noise as various groups shuffle in from the depths below, obscuring the vision of bar guests, who, frankly, seem to have given up and started casually chatting anyway.

Everything at Bar 190 is ornate and expensive looking (aside from the big ugly air con unit above the bar). That expanse-lending mirror, that hidden piece of skirting, those ill-positioned pillars, that vintage light fitting, that velvety staircase: ornate, ornate, ornate. If it looks old, don’t touch it. Including the gin-swigging octogenarian in the corner.

The decor has murder mystery written all over it (ideal for The ‘Gore’ Hotel). Dark reds and gold intersperse sporadically with acres and acres of former woodland. Everything, aside from being ornate and expensive, seems wooden. The floor is wooden. The tables are wooden. The ceiling is wooden. The walls are wooden. Even the staff are wooden; but not in a Kiera Knightley’s School of Acting sort of way, but in a formal, attentive butler kind of way.

The lavish decor displays some similarities with scenes from Harry Potter’s Hogwarts. Staircases shrouded by walls of portrait faces peering and glaring from their static positions. Actually, a few apprentice wizards flying around the room on broomsticks might give Bar 190 a bit of life.

OK, OK, that sounds a bit churlish. Bar 190 isn’t that bad. It does have a few remarkable features worth praising.

Firstly, the drinks menu, which is thick enough to challenge a bodybuilder and as comprehensive as a coach full of Alton Towers day-trippers. It boasts 21 different types of mojito, 27 types of vodka, and enough champagne to cause dizziness just from reading the drinks list.

The simple option is to pick the house Malbec and then get stuck right into one of the other key features, the tapas. At £4 per dish the choices you make need to be wise, but you can’t really go wrong with whatever you choose. Avoid the pork-tasting octopus though, and the chip-masquerading Bravas. Instead, do yourself three favours in the form of lamb, spicy chorizo, and Tiger prawns. And use every bit of accompanying bread to soak up those marvelous juices.

One other minor inviting feature is the tiny, curtained love chamber booth which intriguingly has room for four. Hmmm, how very Max Moseley.

Overall, the mood is subdued but not quite fast asleep. It’s easy to forget that this is a hotel bar. Actually, no it’s not, but regardless, as hotel bars go - they’re usually pretty bland - this one is fair-to-middling. But is it rock n roll? Well, it does have Joe Cocker, Gary Numan, and Abba on its playlist. So think of all the things you could do if you had a little money, money, money in a rich man’s world.
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Customer Reviews for Bar 190

Average (based on 1 votes): 1 Atmosphere: Value: Quality:

The following customer reviews are not endorsed by Fluid London and are simply those of users who wish to publish their independent experiences of Bar 190.

“Due to its proximity to Hyde Park, the Royal Albert Hall and the Natural History Museum, this hotel bar is always going to attract custom from the upper echelons of society and, as such, the variety of drinks on offer is outstanding. They have over 20 vodkas, the same of whiskeys, and if you want a mojito there are about 25 flavours to choose from. The atmosphere is a bit quiet though so it would suit small groups or those engaged in dangerous liaisons.”
Atmosphere: Value: Quality:
Leigh, Tooting (9 years 2 months 1 days ago)

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"Door staff are apalling, i turned up at 9pm on a weekday and the Eastern European doorman said they were closed despite bring clearly open, returned a month later at 7pm on a weekday and once again the..." Which venue is this?

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