Sager + Wilde stalwart and critically acclaimed bartender Marcis Dzelzainis will take over the cocktail offering at The Corinthia Hotel from next month. Dzelzainis will design the drinks offering at The Bassoon Bar in partnership with Michael Sager, who will write a new champagne list for the bar. The collaboration is the second to be announced in the past week by the hotel: Tom Kerridge’s long-awaited London restaurant will open at the Corinthia in September.
Dzelzainis and Sager’s announcement comes on the day that Charlotte Wilde — the Wilde in Sager + Wilde — announced her own new Dalston bar and restaurant space, Darling. Wilde founded Sager + Wilde Hackney Road alongside Sager in 2013, before opening a second spot by the same name on Paradise Row in 2014. The two wine bars, both inspired by the pair’s time in San Francisco, moved London wine culture forward, introducing less celebrated producers and countries to the capital with a new and more accessible approach to presenting and serving (typically expensive) wine.
Dzelzainis’ background in cocktails stems from time with celebrated mixologist Tony Conigliaro at 69 Colebrooke Row in Islington; he has since worked at, and helped to open some of London’s most celebrated bars: Satan’s Whiskers in Bethnal Green, Dandelyan on the Thames, Zetter Townhouse in Clerkenwell and the bar at Jeremy Lee’s Quo Vadis in Soho. Dzelzainis and Sager’s collaboration with The Corinthia promises “New Orleans classics, but reimagined using modern day knowledge and techniques”, with Sager drawing up the new champagne list and Dzelzainis taking over bar management. Head bartender will be Joshua Joyce, previously of Satan’s Whiskers and The Beaufort Bar at The Savoy Hotel.
Dzelzainis reflected on the opportunity presented by collaboration: “Corinthia Hotel London is one of the city’s most prestigious venues, so when the opportunity arose to collaborate in such a unique project, it was an exciting proposition. Bringing the independent spirit of Sager + Wilde in East London with me, I’ve worked hard to keep true to my own style of bartending and hosting whilst reflecting the style of Corinthia at Bassoon Bar.”
Sager, together with Dzelzainis, will also open Fare, in Clerkenwell this September. Asked how the team is going to extend itself across the city, once its business more than doubles in size, Dzelzainis told Eater that the company “has built a team of brilliant people which we have selected to join us on these new ventures.”
He said: “By inviting young, ambitious people, who want to build a career and who are fully supportive of us means we have a strong team and that is absolutely essential. Moving to somewhere as iconic as the Bassoon Bar at Corinthia Hotel London has drawn an amazing crew of staff — Josh Joyce, who we have as our head bartender...and Jackie Lai, who is also joining us, are two of the most talented bartenders in their fields.”
And although the location, just off Trafalgar Square, could not be further removed from Hackney Road or Paradise Row, Dzelzainis says he hopes Sager’s east London customers will join them for drink at the Corinthia.
“The Bassoon Bar is very easily accessible and we hope our loyal, east London customers will come to visit us at The Corinthia and come back again and again. The focus of the drinks list is very in-keeping with the independent spirit at Sager + Wilde — we have simply brought it to a prestigious London hotel on the bank of the Thames,” he said.
With Kerridge on the pans, Sager working the wines, and Dzelzainis doing the cocktails — The Corinthia is putting a clear marker down on its claim to sit among the most ambitious hotel-bar-restaurants in the city.