The Bar Necessities: Double Standard

The Standard has just opened its big and brash design hotel concept in King’s Cross, but it’s the cocktail bar that leaves a lasting impression. Ben Winstanley takes a seat at Double Standard… 

Double Standard bar review, King's Cross

What’s the vibe?

Très chic. Double Standard comes courtesy of America’s hippest hotel group The Standard, so expect to join the in-crowd and cultured booze hounds enjoying this super-sleek space. In keeping with the rest of the 266-bedroom residence, the cocktail bar is a vibrant splash of 1970s cool – complete with funky blue plush seating, a glossy red bartop and kaleidoscopic tiling. It’s loud, it’s a little groovy, and it’s fun too. There’s no pretence here either – feel free to uncinch your tie straight from the office or roll in with a wheelie case if your hopping on the Eurostar from King’s Cross just over the street. Double Standard isn’t trying to have, er, high standards.

What’s the story?

If you’ve passed by King’s Cross in the last couple of years, you might have spotted a scaffolded building just opposite the train station’s main entrance. That would be the brutalist 1970s former offices of Camden Council, but these days it’s home to The Standard. Re-shaped by interior architects Archer Humphryes, the place may still possess its rather grim exterior (albeit now topped with a flashy glass addition that hosts a Latin-American restaurant) but the inside is a design nerd’s delight. Seriously, it’s friggin’ gorgeous to look at.

Double Standard bar review, King's Cross
Double Standard bar review, King's Cross

What to order?

There’s a few beers on tap, a handful of craft offerings in the fridge, and a number of fail-safe wine options to reach for, but really you’re here to lean back in those comfy chairs and rattle through the eclectic cocktail menu. Kick things off with something light and frivolous, like the ST. (Ketel One vodka, passion fruit, pineapple, coconut & champagne soda) or the highly enjoyable Ginger Margarita (Don Julio Blanco tequila, Cointreau, lime & ginger foam) – the ginger adding a pleasing heat to this bartender’s favourite. As the lights turn low, switch to the dark and sultry side of the list. The Chocolate Stout Martini (Ketel One orange vodka, bergamot, stout beer, espresso & Xocolat bitters) is less sweet than it sounds, and provides a welcome gruff booster shot to your regular espresso martini.

The interiors are a design nerd’s delight – seriously, the place is friggin’ gorgeous to look at

How’s the food?

Somewhere between American diner classics and British pub staples. Ex-Pachamama head chef Adam Rawson has created a crowd-pleasing menu to soak up those delicious cocktails. The fried chicken bites are the kind of heaven-sent nuggets you’ve always dreamed of – a delicate batter gives way to incredibly moist meat intensified by a chicken aioli dip on the side. There’s charcuterie and cheese boards for those keeping things light, but avoid the burger if you dare – turned up to 11 with branston pickle, stilton cheese, bacon, and truffle aioli this is surely one of the best patties in the capital. The fish & chips are equally impressive, with the all-important combo of crispy, light batter and well-cooked fish executed perfectly. Helpings of mushy peas and curry sauce are welcomed. Even the fussiest of eaters are likely to look upon this menu and smile.

Double Standard bar review, King's Cross
Double Standard bar review, King's Cross

Will it bankrupt me?

Gladly not. Cocktail prices range from £8 - £12, which for this part of town especially is on the value side of things. You’re looking at £6 for an obligatory portion of those chicken bites (you simply must…), while mains top out at £18, with the burger, and fish and chips coming in at £14 for a hefty portion. A date night here – as good a venue as you’ll find anywhere – will still leave you change from £100. That suits us just fine.

Anything else to note?

The Standard’s ethos revolves around being more than just another hotel. That’s why just next door to Double Standard in the Library Lounge you’ll find Sounds Studio – a musical programming set that features a recording booth and a performance pod. Turn up on the right date and you’ll find a number of up-and-coming artists making sweet music for your enjoyment.

For more info, see