This bijou bar’s the creation of Tony Conigliaro, familiar to keen-eyed cocktail hounds for his work at the likes of Isola, Roka and Shochu – and Camille Hobby-Limon, who runs the much-garlanded Charles Lamb pub a couple of streets away. 69 Colebrooke Row is tiny: with just a handful of tables, supplemented by a few stools at the bar, it may be smaller than your front room, and it’s clear that David Collins was not involved in a multi-million interior design. But it’s already become the destination of the year for cocktail cognoscenti.
A molecular drinks-maker who works with perfumists, scientists, sommeliers, distillers and designers, Conigliaro has his own high-tech laboratory above the bar. There, he experiments with elixirs, aromas and essences, to craft a stunning collection of cocktails, all priced at £7. The Wild Strawberry Bellini coaxes strawberry flavours from incongruous ingredients, while the Consulate – a mix of El Dorado rum and sherry– is an expertly crafted twist on a classic. The bar also has its very own Cognac, blended specially to complement the Spitfire cocktails.
To eat, there are aperitivo nibbles of choice meats, cheeses and other Milanese munchies. Entertainment consists of regular ivory-tinkling, singers and, for the discerning, occasional cocktail seminars. But for all the excellence of the drinks, it’s the little touches – impeccably dressed staff, handwritten bills, tall glasses of water poured from a cocktail shaker – that elevate this lovely little enterprise from the pack.
On the site that once was Dusk, Lost Angel is a sister to the nearby Lost Society, but has a more relaxed, boozer vibe. Service is friendly and the range of drinks covers most bases, from local ales to new-fangled cocktails. Food is pub grub by day (steak on ciabatta), a bit posher in the evening (ballotine of foie gras with red onion confit and toasted brioche).
A Shoreditch bar that’s far removed from the lager and loud music norm. This handsome Lewis Carroll-inspired bar has well-made cocktails, and is heavy on unusual and obscure spirits but with its fair share of classics. There’s also a selection of lovely by-the-glass wines, and Meantime beers or Weston cider should keep the beer and cider sippers sweet. But it’s the whimsical, mad hatter decor which is the real draw.
This formerly scruffy old boozer was for years one of the last hold-outs against progress along the Portobello Road. That’s all changed, as the new Portobello Star is now a cocktail haven, but the real selling points are the friendly, enthusiastic staff and their interesting take on drinks old and new. There are DJs on Friday and Saturday nights, and the place has a feelgood, local vibe.