Dive bars are the best bars: down and dirty spots for a bit of fun. And it doesn’t get more down and dirty than a former public toilet. William Borrell, founder of Vestal Vodka, already has one watering hole in a WC, Ladies & Gentlemen in Kentish Town. Now he’s branched out to bar number two (so to speak): cocktails in the conveniences by Camden Road station.
Look out for the lightbox and follow the stairs down to a tight space with room for 45 (at a squeeze, I’d say). Pavement lights cast a twilight tinge from above, illuminating distressed wooden floorboards and concrete. As it gets darker, candles and a few wall lamps show off the room’s wood panelling and ultramarine seats – it’s surprising just how well these lavs have scrubbed up. It was quiet when we visited and our bartender seemed frustrated to have to keep us company underground. But she warmed up with some solid drink suggestions and we were eventually joined by locals in to spend a penny.
It’s all about cocktails, with a list of 12 to choose from. These included Margaritas and Martinis, or more forgotten numbers, like the Aviation, a tantalising purple cocktail whose parma violets flavour won’t be for everyone – but at least it’ll send your followers into a digital frenzy. Other drinks, like my Paloma, were competently made and served in posh glassware with popcorn on the side. Maybe it’s not so divey after all. And now Borrell is producing a CBD-infused rum, the cocktail menu is due some mellow twists. Mind you, Camden’s bogs have presumably seen it all before.