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A cocktail bar and dining room on Stoke Newington High Street. Expect understated vintage glamour courtesy of the art deco vibe.
It’s a pleasant surprise to see a new bar opening that does something dramatically different with its decor than the usual modern bricks-’n’-light bulb make-under. It’s not exactly ground-breaking though – instead of early twenty-first century, Fontaine’s harks back to the early twentieth. There’s a meticulously observed art deco theme running from the swinging soundtrack to the decorative palm trees and stylised menu font. It could serve as a period film set.
Service from suitably glamorous waitresses brings drinks so classic they should be gold-plated (negroni, manhattan, sazerac, aviation) all about £9, more for the champagne ones. Simple drinks don’t give their maker anywhere to hide, and if the ingredients or technique aren’t up to scratch they just don’t work. Here the staff clearly know their stuff. There’s no twisting going on either, no interpretations or unusual additions, which is definitely no bad thing. The drinks we tried were all spot-on. There’s period live music too, and canapés (fortunately not vintage).
The only sore point – quite literally – was the seating. The elegant white armchairs and low tables would be ideal for solo sippers, but add in a few companions and it all gets a bit uncomfortable. Lean back in respose and you’re a good metre away from your date, which (depending on circumstances) is really sometimes not desirable. Increased intimacy (especially for taller people) requires a torturous lean-in.
Maybe backs and bums were more forgiving in the 1920s? Who knows, but apart from that Fontaine’s is a sophisticated and atmospheric addition to the Stoke Newington drinking scene.
176 Stoke Newington Rd
|Transport:||Rectory Rd rail|
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