It may come as a surprise that Ralph’s Coffee & Bar, located in London’s Mayfair neighborhood, is Ralph Lauren’s first restaurant in the United Kingdom, given that the manor-like finishes, equestrian paintings, and waiter uniform of oxford shirt an repp tie look more at home on Regent Street than they do at his outposts in Chicago, Paris, and New York. “I’ve always loved the English—not just their style, but their way of living,” Lauren says, adding that the opening coincides with his company’s 50th anniversary. “Since my first international store was in London, I can’t think of a better way or place to start the celebration.”
Unveiled in January, the space combines the design and cocktail list of New York’s Polo Bar, adjacent to the Ralph Lauren store on 55th Street and Fifth Avenue, with menu items from Ralph’s Coffee, upstairs in the store. While this means Polo Bar signature dishes like Ralph’s Corned Beef Sandwich and the Polo Bar Burger are noticeably absent, there’s the designer’s coffee blend from La Colombe, cold-pressed juices, all-day breakfast, shared plates, and clubby favorites like oysters and crudités. Cocktails include classics (Old Fashioned, Smoking Jacket) along with others exclusively for the London set such as The Chairman, a heady mix of WhistlePig Rye and Cointreau Noir, and the Regent Street Sour.
Unlike New York’s Polo Bar, which made headlines when it first opened for being the city’s most difficult table to get (the reservations line received a thousand calls a day), the new spot caters to English sensibilities: It’s in a more intimate setting, seating 24 in the dining area and 12 at the bar, and accepts walk-ins. “Their tradition of taking time out for a cup of tea fits perfectly with the addition of our Ralph’s Coffee & Bar,” Lauren says. “I hope they will find it a lovely spot for a cup of our custom-blend coffee and a homemade brownie.”