12 Old Compton St, Soho, London W1D 4TQ
Just turned two years old, Swift has quickly evolved from fledgling bar to established landmark of the London scene. But taking on this Soho site was a risk – Swift replaced the legendary LAB. Big shoes required big names to fill them and the site’s new owners, Mia Johansson and Bobby Hiddleston, with Oriole and Nightjar owners Rosie Stimpson and Edmund Weil in support, are pedigreed and together have created a sophisticated but trendy bar for the new face of Soho.
Upstairs is bright and airy, with lighter long drinks and sparkling serves that suit the breezy pre-dinner atmosphere. Try the Sgroppino – lemon sorbet, prosecco and Italicus liqueur. Or head downstairs, where Hiddleston lets his encyclopaedic spirits knowledge come to bear. This basement is all about dark booths, dark spirits and winding down the evening. That makes two distinct spaces, but with Johansson gliding between them, throwing smiles and hugs around like confetti – this is a bar that finds that sweet balance of high-calibre cocktails and warm hospitality.
Image: Addie Chin