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The City is definitely not what it used to be, and for the better. Gone are the deserted weekends of the past, replaced by a vibrant scene catering to both residents and the corporate crowd. Ikon’s Lifestyle Editor Elena Leo recently visited the legendary Hyatt Regency hotel, just opposite Blackfriars station, to experience a taste of this transformation first hand. While the hotel caters to office workers with its convenient location, its enchanting views and Sunday lunch draw in the local regulars too.

A Storied Past with a Modern Twist

The Hyatt Regency’s history is surprisingly dramatic. Believe it or not, the site wasn’t always a haven for happy hour cocktails. From 1515 to 1523, it was the grounds of King Henry VIII’s Bridewell Palace, where Katherine of Aragon met her marital demise. Later, in the 18th century, it became a women’s prison. This visit, however, was a much more celebratory affair – a toast to the first anniversary of the hotel’s Leaf & Cane bar!

Adding to the festivities, the bar unveiled its new outdoor terrace. Located on the lower ground floor, it offers a lively atmosphere just above the Blackfriars traffic. While artificial plants and colourful lighting might not be for everyone (especially a self-proclaimed plant enthusiast like Elena!), the convenience and energy can’t be denied. Plus, knowing the terrace occupies the site of former prison cells adds a touch of intrigue – a modern twist on a historic site.

Drinks, Food, and Entertainment Galore

This upscale, design-led bar pays homage to the Borucas tribe, a powerful Costa Rican indigenous group known for their love of dance and Chicha, a fermented corn beverage. The bar menu features all the classics, with a twist, alongside signature creations like the “Gracious Beast” (crafted with Discarded Banana Peel Rum and toasted cashew orgeat) and the “Alluring Beauty” boasting Havana Club rum, pomegranate liqueur, and a touch of absinthe.

The celebratory evening lived up to its promise! The invitation mentioned “signature handcrafted cocktails, flavourful street food, and exciting entertainment,” and it delivered on all fronts. Generous pours of rum flowed freely, alongside a delicious selection of Latin American-inspired dishes like Beef Quesadilla and Coxinha, perfect for sharing with friends. The bar’s signature Dulce Churros were a must-try for any dessert lover.

Complementing the offerings was a world-class selection of authentic Cuban cigars, elevating the terrace’s sensory experience. But the night wasn’t just about the drinks and food. Two captivating dancers in jaw-dropping carnival outfits kept the energy high, their proximity to the bar providing an unforgettable spectacle. The bar offers regular live music, featuring everything from jazz tunes to Afro-Cuban beats. For those who love to move and groove, DJ Guy D’Angelo spins Latin, Afro and Tribal beats on Wednesdays and Thursdays.

Leaf & Cane Address and Opening Hours

Hours: Open Tuesday to Saturday from 5pm to 2am, Leaf & Cane is the perfect spot to unwind after work or enjoy a lively weekend night out. They also offer private event bookings.

Address: Hyatt Regency London Blackfriars, 19 New Bridge Street, London EC4V 6DB Tel: +44 (0)20 7438 8057

Website: https://hyattrestaurants.com/en/dining/uk/london/south-american-restaurant-in-london-blackfriars-station-the-leaf-and-cane

Elena Leo is the Arts & Lifestyle Editor of Ikon London Magazine.