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A playful bar inspired by New York’s Genuine group
Tom Selleck’s face plasters the walls of the ladies’ toilet at this bar, a place as cheesy as that mustachioed hunk’s grin (you know, in a good way). It takes its name from a pair of bars in New York that are inspired by the liquor stores that line the Californian coast.
All of that is a tad lost on the edge of Oxford Street, but it’s a neat, retro look, with mirrored walls and chequerboard floors downstairs and neon signs and booze-filled cabinets in the bar above. The ground level doubles as a shop for takeaway cocktails and is great for informal, group catch-ups. Like boozy bingo, there’s a form you fill out to make your order and cocktails (from £9) come quickly since they’re pre-batched and served on tap.
Pizzas are star-shaped, the points made from molding dough into mini calzones – the Hot & Bothered with spicy salami and green chillies was nice and fiery. Upstairs, a barman with just as much facial furniture as Selleck himself operated a machine that removes the tops of canned drinks to make their signature, the ‘cha-chunker’ – essentially a fizzy can with a miniature booze bottle inverted and shoved in the top.
The flavour is as finessed as it sounds, but I liked the Algonquin: it had pineapple Fanta, Chivas and a splash of vermouth and bitters, and got boozier as I sipped. These drinks are fun and are served by friendly staff: when my friend found the Salted Cocchi (gin, rose cocchi americano wine, grapefruit bitters), well, too salty, the bartender made her a cocktail more to her taste without extra charge.