This past Saturday, Alex S (Yelp London Community Director) organised the first London Gold Elite* event, and what an event it was! We lucky few were invited to the Churchill Bar in the Hyatt Regency near Marble Arch for a cocktail masterclass and some fondue.
Tell us about the event!
Upon our (fashionably) late entry, Becky H and I were greeted by a collection of impeccably dressed Yelpers and shortly handed a glass of posh bubbly. The Churchill Bar is absolutely beautiful and neatly marries the dark woods of old world luxury with modern style’s shiny metals and glass. We were then invited behind the bar to mix up one of Churchill’s Winter Warmer cocktails – in this case a hot butter rum made with Zacapa 23 (one of my favourite rums!) topped with a meringue foam and a tuxedoed gingerbread man. You can’t fault a hot buttered rum for chasing away the chill and it was good fun to make our own drinks.
Afterwards, we headed out to the terrace and wrapped up tightly in furs and blankets while we sipped the unlimited wine (and pretty good wine it was!) while nibbling on a variety of excellent canapés (the crab was a fan favourite). After taking the edge off, we started on one of the three cheese fondues offered on the Winter Terrace before finishing off with one of the best chocolate éclairs I’ve had to date.
It was a great afternoon of drinks made even better by the company and it was great to see the long-standing Elites – most old friends and now some new ones. My thanks to Alex and the Churchill Bar for hosting us and I’m looking forward to returning with the Yelp crew for the bottomless Prosecco brunch which includes a Tiramisu bar. Exactly how that works, I don’t know, but I’m looking forward to finding out!
I also noticed the cigar cabinet in the corner with a full range of fat stogies that you could just picture the man himself lighting up happily. I’m not a smoker but there is a certain appeal in grabbing a glass of whiskey and lighting one up on the terrace. Cigars range from £10 for a half to £50+ for those of you that know the difference.
Worth the dosh?
The Churchill Bar isn’t cheap although after seeing the place I’m not surprised. Cocktails typically ring in at £15-20 and the fondues are around the £17 mark. Size-wise, it’s enough to nibble on between four but really it’s just about enough for a couple and even then you’ll likely want more food for a meal. They do a range of bite size snacks – my favourite on the previous visit being the steak tartare and the scotch eggs – but think more drinks and bites rather than any substantial food. It’s a great place to impress a date or for that special occasion (and the drinks are delicious) but the paycheck won’t stretch to making it a regular haunt.
And a quick blurb on Yelp…
Anyone can become a Yelp Elite (this isn’t a private club) by putting in the work. While Yelp (and no, I don’t work for them) doesn’t disclose exactly how Elites are chosen, in general those with the most active presence in the Yelp London community will be tapped. This can take the form of writing good reviews, participating on the talk threads, and attending events (including organising your own UYEs – Unofficial Yelp Events). Basically, build a reputation and make positive contributions and your efforts will be recognised.
*Gold Elites are those who have been Yelp Elites for 5+ consecutive years