Please note, Bad Sports Bar is now closed. Time Out London Editors, May 2018.
‘I fancy a Buckfast Negroni,’ as no one said, ever. But that’s just what you get in the Coatbridge Negroni at badass Bad Sports Bar on Hackney Road, which swaps out vermouth for the notorious tonic wine so beloved of Glaswegian soaks. And you ken what? It’s delicious.
Other superstar drinks on the short, silly menu include one of the best margaritas I’ve tried in London – with a hint of achiote paste for hidden oomph – and a Bad Martini that was anything but, a sphere of pineapple at the bottom of the glass diffusing its sweet aroma. But it’s the frozen banana daiquiris that are received with the most fervour by the punters sat where the fun’s at, up at the bar. Ours came extra ‘rummy’ according to co-owner Dominik Prosser, who knows how to put on a good time (past American sport-oriented parties in east London have evolved to become this permanent spot). He and his colleague kept topping up those of us at the bar with tempting samples of other drinks on the menu to show off what they can really do (or possibly just to get us drunk?).
NBA and NFL games are projected on one wall, while a screen at the other end of the narrow room runs a reel of bad sportsmanship in action – expect cheap shots in the boxing ring and professional fouls on a loop. But while we overhear some gentle American football ‘banter’, the theme is pretty muted; instead, it’s a dark basement where the cocktails rock. There’s a wicked taqueria up above, and the doors stay open until 2am at weekends. Little flamingo straws sit in a jar on the bar, banana sweets embellish those daiquiris and you can order a mysterious shot of Unnecessary Roughness. Basically, Bad Sports equals really Good Times (Buckfast optional).