The name isn’t just a metaphor – this new bar really isn’t much bigger than an actual liquor cabinet. And it’s also something of a riposte to all those so-called ‘speakeasies’ opening in London in recent years; it’s properly hard to find, on a stubby side street off Hackney Road, accessed down a narrow staircase underneath a kebab shop. Instead of 1930s design affectations, it’s rough and ready, looking like you could not only build it in an afternoon but disassemble it and build it again before evening service. It’s dark and basic and boozy.
None of this is a criticism – it feels exciting to be drinking somewhere so casual and DIY when so many places these days open with maximum PR and glamour. The drinks, though, are anything but rudimentary. The limited space means that a lot of thought has gone into the drinks selection, which is all premium stuff (Blanton’s Single Barrel bourbon, Martin Miller’s gin, Einstök Toasted Porter from Iceland). The cocktails too are far better than such a basic set-up should allow – they’re all made before opening and chilled in dinky little flip-top bottles, so when you order a negroni or an old-fashioned or a tequila martinez, they’re ready in seconds, perfect every time and only cost six quid.
Liquor Cabinet is open evenings only, but really, when else would you want to visit a cocktail bar under a kebab shop in Hackney Road?
Reviewed by Euan Ferguson
|Venue name:||Liquor Cabinet||Contact:|
184 Hackney Rd
|Opening hours:||Open 5pm-12.30am Tue-Wed; 5pm-1am Thur-Sat.|
|Transport:||Rail: Hoxton Overground|
|Do you own this business?|
Average User Rating
4.5 / 5
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Without question among my favourite bars in London. Drinks are simple, but solid - Negronis, Old Fashions and the like. The prices (especially at Happy Hour) are of unbelievable value, unlike most basement bars whose prices hover in the double digits. Great atmosphere, great music, and great staff. Plus the East London location is perfect - just a few minutes walk from the bustling nightlife Hoxton and Shoreditch, but hidden just enough so as not be overcrowded. Can't get enough of Liquor Cabinet!
Finally a ''hidden bar'' that is not completely taking the mickey. The drinks are solid, the ambiance basic, but the people there are interesting specimens (though now it's reviewed in TO it might change fast) and it's certainly a place I'm going to go back to, despite the rather grotty neighbourhood.