Bar Manager Jared heads across the channel all in the name of research…
It is a difficult job, but someone has to do it… and so this weekend I left behind my beloved Berlin to go to London to see what is happening in the bar scene over there. What I found was a mixture of dark bars all with their own personalities, depending on who it was that was working the bar. In general, the drinks were fantastic, and some had garnishes that blew my mind.
One thing I found interesting was that I had to make a reservation to make sure I could visit all the bars on my list, which I did from Berlin. I guess they do this to keep the idiots out, and to give the bars a kind of speakeasy vibe… I liked it at first but then felt that it gave the bars a bit of a stuffy, members-only kind of vibe. Anyway, it is worth knowing for anyone looking to explore the London bar scene.
Here are my highlights of the trip:
This bar is world famous and one place I have always wanted to visit. It is housed in a former brothel, and was so dark I could barely read the menu. It did not matter… I knew what I wanted: my first Penicillin, a modern classic. And there is no place better to have it than at Milk and Honey.
This place was fully booked, but luckily the owner was willing to squeeze me in at the bar. I ordered a “Maid in Cuba”, of Bacardi run, lime juice, sugar, mint, cucumber, absinthe and soda… well! It was just what the doctor ordered. Ali, the owner, and the bar team were all great and it was really nice to drink in a place where the philosophy of “we make the drinks we would like to drink, and create the atmosphere that we would like to drink in” so well realized. I felt very much at home here…
Search for the little bird on the door and you will know there is a bar hiding somewhere behind it. This place is simply decorated and again, very dark. The menu comes with its own glossary because they are using such rare ingredients… some of which I had only heard about because of hours of watching random cooking shows.
To see the bartenders at work, and the garnishes they created, was simply mind blowing. For example, my first drink was a Cold Buttered Rum… which came with a small wafer cone filled with coconut infused clarified butter. That was hanging in the drink attached to the glass with the world’s smallest clothes peg, so that the coconut butter changed the taste of the drink over time. An absolute high light.
My last stop of the weekend, and what a good note to leave on. You get into this bar through a restaurant, and through a hidden door that is disguised as a kitchen door. Once downstairs there is small room with a random mix of staff. They were all super friendly and really made my night by just being themselves, making great drinks, and just having fun. The way a bar should be.
Also a small thank you to Russel for the great afternoon good drinks, nice chat and in my book the best designed place that I saw while I was in London! http://www.thehappenstancebar.co.uk/