This autumn a new bar celebrating exploration and adventure will pull into The Strand at full steam ahead. Sticking to Jules Verne’s legendary explorer’s tight schedule, Mr Fogg’s Society of Exploration will throw open a window on to the world, complete with train carriage, map room and hidden wonders. Brought to the West End by Charlie Gilkes and Duncan Stirling’s Inception Group, the bar will take guests on a thrilling journey inspired by Around The World in 80 Days.
Located just a stone’s throw from Charing Cross station, where Phileas Fogg and his trusty valet, Passepartout set off on their voyage, Mr Fogg’s Society of Exploration will be a true travel hub, where death-defying exploits and adventures are plotted and planned. The walls will be adorned with portraits of Mr Fogg’s fellow fearless pioneers and their intrepid tales will be depicted and narrated at regular Society meetings. The downstairs Map Room will house a collection of both antique and modern-day maps, host regular evening events with a resident explorer, and will also offer global drinking adventures, from cocktail masterclasses to spirit safaris.
Guests will enter via an elegant lobby with an oversized rotating globe marking the places visited and modes of transport that the intrepid pair took. Moving downstairs, they will encounter cabinets of curiosities, souvenirs and artefacts handpicked by fellows of the explorer society. There will be a life-sized model of a Victorian Orient Express, complete with banquette seating and gleaming brass lamps where passengers can let off steam over a libation or two. The main bar area will feature wooden panelling, shelves laden with travel books and encyclopedias, and warm leather armchairs to welcome weary travellers.
A place for experiments and innovation, Mr Fogg’s Society of Exploration will even give drinkers the chance to participate in the making of their drinks by pressing a button to trigger a chain reaction in a marvellous mechanical machine inspired by famous inventor Rube Goldberg.
The multi-sensory menu will take the form of an explorer’s journal charting the feats of fellows across nine extraordinary areas of Earth. Each chapter will focus on one location, ranging from ancient man-made creations to wonders of the natural world. Drinkers will soar above the palms of the Sahara Desert, shiver at the sub-zero temperatures of The North Pole and plummet to the depths of The Great Barrier Reef while show-stopping sharers will include The Sheep Wheel, a reproduction of a ship’s helm and The Bombay Sapphire Rube Goldberg Machine.
Mr Fogg’s preferred prandial refreshment of toasted crumpets will be served alongside his favourite nibbles such as croquettes, meat and cheese boards, and for the more daring culinary adventurer, crickets, mealworms and grasshoppers. Mr Fogg’s Society of Exploration will be the fifth bar in the immersive Mr Fogg’s Collection which includes: Mr Fogg’s Residence, Tavern, Gin Parlour and House of Botanicals.
Society co-founder and keen traveller, Charlie Gilkes says of the project: “It’s been five years since we opened our first Mr Fogg’s, we’re thrilled to add a fifth venue to the collection and look forward to welcoming anyone with a love of travel, cocktails, or both to The Society of Exploration!”