Don’t worry, it’s not an actual clubhouse – women are permitted in the main bar and you may wear shorts. If it was any sort of house, it would be a frat house, or ‘Animal House’, or maybe ‘Road House’ – the walls of this basement bar and pizzeria are covered in vintage American beer adverts and road signs, and there’s a classic Wurlitzer jukebox in one corner.
The cocktails would get any bunch of Delta Tau Chi boys merry. They reference US cultural benchmarks from the last 30 years: the Axel Foley has tequila, lime and sparkling grapefruit, and the Cruel Intentions comes with coconut vodka and tropical fruit juices. The pizzas sound like a ‘most-requested’ list in a ’90s video store – the Ferris Bueller, the Dawson’s Creek, the Screech. And they’re good; not Napoli-authentic like the sort from Franco Manca, but crisp, generously proportioned and loaded, just the thing to go with the good-time drinks.
ESC doesn’t take itself too seriously, but it’s flawlessly professional: it’s refreshing to see a more fun side of American culture represented than the poshed-up fried chicken-and-burgers or Brooklyn small plates that have come to proliferate round these parts.