101 Star Bars (#28): Albannach, London

Albannach, 66 Trafalgar Square, London, WC2, 020 7930 0066
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Indy Lifestyle Online

If your idea of Scottish-themed is an Angus Steakhouse-meets-Braveheart reunion, this understated bar is not for you. American tourists bluster in, find no tartan and drift out again. But if you find yourself in central London, missing the Edinburgh Festival and with a serious thirst for single malt, this is as good a place as any.

Based in an old Bank of Scotland building just off the tourist hell of Trafalgar Square, Albannach consists of a mezzanine restaurant, an airy, wood-panelled bar and the deep red vaults of the area called "Doon". Its décor is sophisticated Scottish: slate floors, sofas in soft heather hues and a spectacular chandelier made out of dozens of stag antlers. No stags were harmed during the furnishing of the bar: they shed their headgear after the mating season, apparently, and enterprising bar managers pick it up and make lamps out of it.

There's no point standing under the mezzanine to try to see up the waiters' sexy black kilts, unfortunately: since none of them seems to be a true Scot they are presumably appropriately clad. Instead, get the whisky sommelier to recommend one of their hundreds of single malts, or try a Scottishised cocktail – the Soor Monkey is a lot nicer than it sounds. But you wouldn't catch William Wallace drinking Me Plums. Even the bar bites are too cool for school. Shallow-fried haggis in filo pastry? Venison sausage in honey and chilli? You won't find that in an Angus Steakhouse.

66 Trafalgar Square, London WC2 (020-7930 0066)

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