The Charring Cross Road branch of Harmony Store has always been one of my favourites. There’s something about the space which seems both wonderfully intimate and incredibly chic. Art can often be seen adorning the walls of the spiral staircase which cascades down into an equally enjoyable lower level (where the bondage gear, porn and other delights are located).
Which such a beautifully managed location it is hard to imagine how things could get any better, but Harmony Store managed to pull it off by introducing a cocktail bar into this inviting interior. Don’t worry: Harmony Store isn’t branching into hard liquor or the club scene (there are many other wonderful places in Soho that have those two categories covered). Instead Harmony Store are treating its customers to a cocktail bar with a distinctively sexual twist: a mix and match of flavoured and sensation-inducing lubricants which can be customized to meet each individual’s needs.
As a lubricant enthusiast I can’t help but gasp excitedly at the very thought of such a glorious thing existing and, earlier this month, I was lucky enough to be able to visit the store and see this unique cocktail bar in person.
The lubricant cocktail bar is one of the first things that grabs your attention as soon as you walk into the store, and how can it not be really? Presented on a circular table, the lubricant cocktail bar provides a cornucopia of lubricants, each of a different colour and each residing in a beautiful glass jar. On a purely aesthetic level it’s hard not to get excited when seeing the lubricant bar. I had been offered a free bottle by Harmony Store but as soon as I saw the display I knew I’d be buying more. The allure is real.
Approaching the staff about the lubricant cocktail bar is incredibly simple; primarily because all of the staff I’ve met in Harmony Store are friendly, approachable and well informed. The lady who served me on the day of my visit was particularly delightful and answered all of my questions with a welcoming smile on her face.
Good customer services are always highly regarded when it comes to retail but in the sex toy industry I feel like it matters all the more. After all these are the people that customers come to feeling nervous, apprehensive, and sometimes perhaps even ashamed (due to their religious or social background). On the other side of the spectrum there are also customers who are extroverted, knowledgeable or over-sharers, and perhaps some customers are a mixed bag of traits. Being able to guide a variety of customers through the wonderful world of sex toys with confidence and a friendly demeanor is a trait that I will always admire. Praise where praise is deserved after all.
The lovely lady who ran me through how the lubricant bar worked happily listened to what I wanted (a good old chocolate orange mix) and began to pour out my chosen concoction. Originally I had assumed that I would be able to pour it out myself but I soon found out why this was not the case: lubricant, goopy as it is, takes a fair amount of time to pour into a new bottle. As such I was encouraged to look around the store while my lovely customer service assistant started the somewhat lengthy task of pouring out my requests.
In the meantime other customers came up and enquired about the lubricant cocktail bar too and the woman who was pouring my batch kindly explained how it all worked. It’s clear that I’m not the only one who likes to spice up my lubricant (and also that the staff at Harmony Store are very good at multitasking).
By the time I left the store I had three bottles of lubricant: one being Mint Chocolate Chip, the other Chocolate Orange, and the last a simple heating lubricant with Ylang Ylang added for aroma.
Before I delve into my experiences with this lubricant I’d like to point out some of the vitals in regard to the lubricant cocktail bar experience. Each bottle of lubricant is 100ml and can be mixed and matched to your hearts content. If you use up all of your lubricant and come back for more then the empty bottle will be reused (if you return with it) and you’ll get a £1 discount off of your refill. Each of these mixtures costs £4.99, which I feel is very reasonable for what you get (a custom product and an experience). The lubricant itself is water-based, dermatologically-tested and paraben-free. In terms of consistency this lubricant is slightly runny but also reasonably thick. It has a nice slick sensation to it and worked well when coating a sex toy.
That being said our experiences with our chosen cocktails were somewhat…unfavourable.
In terms of flavour there was a rather strong artificial, almost chemical tang to both of the flavoured lubricants that we chose. The Chocolate Orange’s tang was somewhat subtle but the Mint Chocolate Chip lubricant was overwhelmingly chemical, to the point where Mr. Peaches refused to taste it against after sampling it off of my finger. In both instances we didn’t really get a sense of the flavours intended so it was somewhat of a let-down. For more authentic flavours I would instead recommend the Sliquid Naturals Swirl range or the Sensuous Sweet Touch range depending on what else you’re using it for.
Credit where it’s due: My sensitive skin did not react to the Chocolate Orange lubricant during both external and internal use. This is certainly an accomplishment as I have notoriously sensitive skin. Still, I wish I could say this applied to the other bottles too…
As soon as I tried the heated Ylang Ylang lubricant my vulva ignited with an intense burning sensation which provoked an audible scream. I spent the next five minutes scooping cold water onto my genitals and hoping the pain would go away. It eventually did but I understandably didn’t try the Mint Chocolate Chip to see how its cooling sensation worked.
This won’t be the case for everyone and beyond the pain I did detect a distinct warming sensation that may even be pleasant for some. However if, like me, you suffer from sensitive skin then I would instead suggest trying the ON Female Arousal Balm, which worked wonders for me.
Overall the lubricant cocktail bar experience was a truly fantastic one but sadly, the end product didn’t work well for us in terms of taste and sensation. As such we’re unlikely to be handling in our empty recycled bottles any time soon, but that doesn’t mean that you won’t find the lube of your dreams at this unique bar. One of the great things about the lubricant bar is that it actually has free samples for you to try before you buy and while you can’t rub the warming and cooling lubes on your genitals to determine their suitability you can try out the different flavours and see if you like them.
With this in mind I definitely recommend giving the lubricant bar a visit, even if only for the experience. Worst case scenario you find out it’s not for you, but then you still have a whole store full of amazing adult products to explore.
Until the next review!