By Euan Ferguson
Azealia Banks' song may be called '212', not ‘214’, and she may be talking about the borough of Manhattan, not the borough of Southwark. But the strident rap-talker would definitely be down with this new basement cocktail bar – especially if she likes gin.
214 Bermondsey is dedicated to the spirit that sent London staggering into the gutter during the eighteenth century. Gin’s image as a ruiner of mothers, a rotter of guts and a corrupter of the poor is no more; it has also survived its time as the drink of choice for the reposing colonialist. It’s now the city’s coolest spirit, with young gin-loving hipsters (‘ginsters’?) setting up their own boutique distilleries by the barrel-load.
So, what can you try here? If it’s gin, it’s in. The back bar holds more than 100 bottles of the stuff: some of it comes from ‘just up the road’ in SE1 (Jensen), some from California (Junípero). Lesser-seen varieties include Dutch genevers, the Scottish Caorunn, and The Spectator, distilled for readers of the same magazine. All come with clever tasting notes and details of the botanicals involved. The list of gin cocktails is impressive too.
If you're not sure where to start, there’s an easy entry point for the hesitant – four ‘gin flights’ each offer three distinctive spirits mixed with tonic. In a neat touch, drinkers are encouraged to identify each themselves from the notes before tearing open an envelope. The biggest talking point, however, is perhaps the own-made tonic, which in this dimly lit cellar glows pink like a Bombay sunset. It’s made with imported quinine bark, lightly carbonated; it’s deliberately subtle, to let the flavours of the spirits shine through. And enthusiastic staff have all the gen on gin. So after all this effort, don’t ask for Gordon’s and tonic, ice and a slice. It won’t go down well in any sense.
Why not try one of gin tasting flights. You will be given three gins and a bottle of tonic. The gins are in an unknown order but you'll be provided with an envelope complete with tasting notes. Try them all, make a guess as to what’s what and open the envelope to reveal the answers.
214 is also to home to BTW tonic water, a unique tonic using natural raw quinine that brings out the best in gin the way the distiller intended.
|Venue name:||214 Bermondsey||Contact:|
214 Bermondsey Street
|Opening hours:||Tuesday & Wednesday 17.00 ~ 23.00 ; Thursday 17.00 ~ 00.00 ; Friday & Saturday 17.00 ~ 01.30 ; Sunday Social 16.00 ~ 22.30|
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Average User Rating
4.9 / 5
- 5 star:12
- 4 star:2
- 3 star:0
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Superior selection of gins and a cosy lounge-feel atmosphere. Knowledgable bar tenders make it that much more of an experience.
Had a great time here. A friend of mine recommended it on Teepee, my new fav recommendations app, and it really lived up to expectations. You can enjoy it even if you don't like gin!!!
If my bank and liver would allow i'd be back here every week. I'd never enjoyed or so much as thought about gin before I fell upon this little gem, but it is safe to say, I am now truly converted. The wonderful bar man took me through the menu, listened to me go on and on about what I do and don't like and somehow, managed to create the most glorious gin based cocktail for me. And if the drinks weren't enough to convince you, the bar itself is just delightful too - perfectly intimate for an evening out with friends or something slightly more romantic.
Amazing bar with brilliant staff. It was my best gin experience to date. The staff went out of their way to answer any questions I had about gin and other alcohol whilst making top quality cocktails to boot. I would highly recommend everyone to check it out even if you do not enjoy gin. I'm sure once you go you will be converted to a gin fan.
Had a really great time down here one Wednesday. Unbelivable selection of Gin, Great cocktails, knowledgable staff and just simply a great vibe. Fan-bloody-tastic. They even make their own tonic.
Good work Nick!! Looks amazing and drinks are lovely! Your hard work has really paid off over the last couple of years!!