Earlier this year we were blown away by the arrival of the Copper House to the Berkhamsted High Street. Taking over the beautiful old listed building previously occupied by Carluccio’s, the champagne, cocktail & fine dining bar were a much longed for addition to the cosmopolitan community of Berko. From the moment we saw the stunning copper signage over the door we knew that this place was special. If you’ve yet to venture to the area’s most glamorous bar yet, you are missing out on some of the most luxurious of interiors you’ll find. The bar is a perfect mix of the dramatic features of the old building and the clever styling of Rebecca Clarke Interiors. Think industrial style bare brick, cast iron pillars combined with luxe leather banquettes, deep blue paintwork and of course accents of their trademark copper. There’s also humour there too. The owners commissioned neon signs for their toilet to give it that quirky club vibe. Every detail is thought of and everything there is of the highest possible quality.
I love the story of how this place began. Four friends (two couples), entrepreneurs who work in London and but enjoy the chilled out cafe culture of Berkhamsted. There was always something they missed however – a little slice of the city in the country if you like. Somewhere to go for a drink that’s goes that extra mile, somewhere they play good music while you relax with friends, somewhere that stays open after the pubs have closed. Well they had a dream to bring the best of everything together to make the most incredible champagne and cocktail bar you could imagine. After years of venue searching, council negotiations, supplier sourcing, recruiting and lavish building renovations they succeeded in doing just that and the Copper House opened. If you ever wanted an example of passion for quality it’s these guys – from Himalyan pink salt in the cellars, to locally carefully sourced food and drinks suppliers to THAT incredible Tom Dixon chandelier. There were no compromises for this visionary team. And it works…it works so well they have delivered a space for the area that’s like nothing else.
If it wasn’t enough that this go-to bar has arrived and given us the most glamorous of places to hang out, the team are not resting on their laurels, it is also becoming a hub for unmissable events. Throughout August they’re celebrating our native British oysters in their festival “Get Shucked”. Oysters are hugely important for the Copper House and they’ve already developed a reputation for them and serving a staggering 2,000 in the first twelve weeks! Now love an oyster, we do! Admittedly I probably couldn’t eat 2,000, but I was game for seeing what impression we could make on Berko’s oyster festival so we headed down to see just how Copper House do oysters.
The oysters coming in a half or full dozen and starting at £13.50 they came either in the house simple style served with wasabi or red wine vinaigrette or the weekly special take on the traditional. We tried three different styles – ‘Kaki Furai’ fried in panko breadcrumbs served with seaweed tartare, Maldon Rock oysters with lychee and coconut dressing and the house Rock oysters with a wasabi dressing or red wine vinaigrette. Each oyster special listed on the menu is with paired drinks such as rose Moet & Chandon champagne or Ardberg Whiskey. Enjoying the oyster variations together was a great way to explore the varying flavours and textures and to see how versatile the oyster can be. From the crunchy satisfying panko oyster paired with fresh tartare to the exotic, light coconut dressing and the unique Asian freshness or the regular oyster, which remain a favourite. All are beautifully served, the chilled varieties on trays of ice with edible flowers, making the feast for the eyes as well as the soul. In answer to my question about how many oysters I could eat – it seems the answer is 12! Yep, didn’t think it possible but it’s amazing how easily those delicious little mouthfuls disappear! Whether you enjoy the the oysters with a paired drink, or one of their trademark cocktails or champagne, the gradual grazing in the sparkling vibrant bar bar is the perfect way to enjoy a summer evening with friends or for something more intimate.
But our evening didn’t end there. No, we couldn’t leave without testing out the small plates the Copper House are known for. So we chose scallops with celeriac puree and truffle butter, spicy buttermilk fried heritage cauliflower with gochujang ketchup, toasted sesame seeds and side order of chips. Both were satisfying savoury treats to round off our seafood extravaganza and the perfect introduction to the menu that teased at many more treats we are excited to go back for. Of course, there was desert too – chocolate delice with passion fruit sorbet and vanilla panna cotta with poached strawberry, basil and honeycomb. Finishing the night on an indulgent high.
So what do we like about Copper House? Everything! This really is something new – a chilled space to drink and dine and listen to music in the most stunning environment. Stay up late (or not). You will find great food from brunch through to late dinner and all accompanied by the best drinks – starting with a smoothie and ending with a Martini. We love that they’re also carving out a place as events space – with the oyster festival, their Summer Sessions (Friday night DJs), fashion events and more. We are thrilled for the team that after all their hard work on a Thursday in August its packed with happy diners and drinkers. If you’re looking for where it’s at in the area…I can tell you it’s right here!