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Old Mary's - Youngs (Bar)

Picture of Old Mary's - Youngs in Paddington, London

The Mitre Townhouse, 24 Craven Terrace, Lancaster Gate, Paddington, London, W2 3QH
Cuisine: [Other/Unclassified]
Tel: 020 7262 5240 | Email to Old Mary's - Youngs | Transport: Lancaster Gate | Write review

Old Mary's - Youngs Review

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Best for: Experimental cocktails.

Great: Atmosphere for sharing those spooky ghost stories.
 
“I see dead people” or at least I thought I did after my fourth cocktail. Well, this wasn’t just any bar; this was Old Mary’s at Lancaster Gate. This was the old servant’s quarters for Lord Craven’s Estate.

Young Mary (as she was back then) moved to London from the countryside looking for work and a new life. She was young, pretty and naïve (no, I am not describing myself). A chance encounter with Lord Craven at Lancaster Gate led to a job offer, as he took pity on her.

She was in awe of the dashing young Lord Craven; soon they fell in love and were planning to run off together, but Lady Craven clearly had other ideas, and Mary was found with a knife through her heart in the scullery.

If you hear any wailing sounds or feel a chill when visiting, it’s probably Old Mary still looking for her lover.

As ghost stories go, this is up there with the best, especially when you are sat at the bar and the storyteller is none other than the bar manager, Manel. I am still debating whether that chill down my spine was from the ghost stories he told or from the rather clever cocktail concoctions he was making.

Rather like Mary, for Manel it was a case of all roads lead to London, having worked at the Soho House group before returning to his native Portugal to work at a 6-star hotel, only to come back to London to accept Old Mary’s challenge.

Old Mary only opened in February 2013. “Yes, it’s taken that long to exorcise the ghosts of Mary and Lord Craven,” told Manel, trying to spook me even more.

The cocktail menu is as classical as Lord Craven’s estate, if a little too safe. Manel explained this was due a significant makeover in June. Old Mary’s will become more of an experimental cocktail society. We tried two specials and two classic cocktails.

The first cocktail was Las Villas, which takes inspiration from the spirit of another famous ghost, Che Guevera. It contains bitters, rum, port, Cointreau and Jägermeister, and was just the stiff drink I needed to walk around the venue and explore further.

The venue itself is brilliantly atmospheric; as you descend into Old Mary’s, there’s a ghostly apparition of Mary on the walls. The low level lighting, the brick walls, and the metal cages storing spirits all add to the mystique of Old Mary’s.

The ghost of Old Mary might be the attraction but the bar staff are the real highlight; make sure to always challenge them and order off the menu. The second cocktail we tried was a summer special, the Jam Smash – gin, basil, crème de mare and marmalade.

This bar team really is one of the most inventive bar teams in London. Even when we tried the classics, they were out of this world.The Dark and Stormy cocktail, for example, was not shaken in a Boston shaker, but a copper jug which didn’t looked out of place in Lord Craven’s kitchen. Their Mai-tai’s come in mini, mega or astro-sized jam jars too.

Like other recently opened hip cocktail bars, they specialise in certain types of food. Here the speciality is hot dogs. I can wholeheartedly recommend the Lord Craven hot dog; not being a hot dog expert, I wouldn’t have thought pulled pork added to a hot dog tasted so great, yet it did. Rumours are that different items will be introduced to the menu soon. Braised Mary's heart, anyone?

Even though the bar has only been open a few months [at the time of writing], it has already attracted a paranormal TV crew to fly over from the US to investigate the whole venue. They are currently in negotiations with the channel on a possible TV show based on Lord Craven’s estate.

It’s so rare to find a cocktail bar which hasn’t been covered to death by newspapers reporting how it’s an “amazing” find. This secret gem in Lancaster Gate won’t be hidden for long though. Be ahead of the crowds, check out the mysterious Old Mary’s first and be ready for an eye-opening experience.
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Customer Reviews for Old Mary's - Youngs

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 Old Mary's - Youngs.

“Absolutely fantastic place to go. We loved it. Service was above outstanding, and the cocktails are to die for. Staff is charismatic as well as knowledgeable. Thanks fluid for posting this review, it's our local bar and we love it being out there. Recommended and going back.”
Atmosphere: Value: Quality:
Michael Wallace, london (5 years 5 months 28 days ago)

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