A visit to Bokan ’s sky-high terrace not only provides views of the rapidly changing Docklands but a menu of cocktails inspired by its trading history.
Techniques such as barrel-ageing and wood smoking have been used to pay homage to the goods that were once imported into the area.
It is a formula bar manager Danilo Tersigni hopes will propel the venue right to the very top.
The ambitious 28-year-old was headhunted for his role at the 38th and 39th floor bars in the recently opened Novotel on the Isle Of Dogs.
He previously worked for Mr Fogg’s Residence in Mayfair and under his management it was listed among the World’s 50 Best Bars – an accolade he now wants to surpass.
“Canary Wharf is a really exciting place as it has so many buildings and apartments going up and people coming to the area,” said Danilo.
“For me this was a chance to create something unique to appeal to people here and make them come to us.”
His research took him to the Museum Of Docklands where he learnt about the ships that used to deliver spices and rum.
“It is all about the history and detail,” he said. “I started looking at significant events from the area.”
He was involved in the design of the bar and terrace, which he wanted to have a “homey” relaxed feeling and was also in charge of recruiting a team of 22 to make and serve the drinks throughout the entire hotel.
“It is my kingdom,” said the Wandsworth resident who grew up in Sora near Naples and has worked in bars since he was 18.
“I plan to open a dedicated terrace bar later this summer. It already has one of the best views of London, but people get bored of views if you don’t give them an experience.
“I want it to be like in The Great Gatsby, with people drinking, laughing, socialising and having fun.”
In order to achieve this vision his staff start work three hours before the bar opens so they can prep the ingredients for the cocktail menu.
It is the crowning glory of the bar menu - split into five flavour sections named after different areas in Docklands.
Blackwell Levels - a trio of sharing cocktails - was inspired by the social side of the Docks.
“That is the area where boats used to stop so crews could rest after they had finished trading,“ said Danilo.
“The sharing cocktails are meant to inspire people to talk and socialise and one is served in a teapot as another nod to the history of importing tea.”
The West India Docks is the exotic, sharp collection and features homemade Darjeeling syrup.
While the fresh and fruity drinks in The East India Docks section feature an English garden syrup made with flowers from the hotel’s botanical garden.
The Imperator cocktail forms part of The Millwall Dock group and is served in a box full of applewood smoke.
The most unusual selection is the trio of Gwlit’s Warehouse, which are all made months in advance and aged in barrels made of acacia, almond tree and cherry tree wood.
All the cocktails are topped with fruit and herb garnishes that are dried on the premises, another process that takes three hours a day to complete.
Danilo said: “I wanted a challenge. I love the adrenalin it gives and if I don’t have that I get bored.”
“It takes a lot of time but that is the part that is really fun. If you want to achieve something unique you have to put the work in.
“I came here with the aim of getting into the list of The World’s Best 50 Bars and I’m confident we can achieve it.”
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