Nightjar opened in 2010 and has become such a huge success that it now operates an online-only booking system and charges your credit card if you don’t show up. It takes away much of the spontaneity that comes with stumbling across a place like this, but that’s the price of fame.
And there is a good reason for it: Nightjar is a great bar. It’s a gorgeous, low-lit room with comfortable seating, smooth table service and a long, playful cocktail list divided into historical eras (pre-Prohibition, post-war and so on). This makes it a great place for experimenting, but you can also depend on expert handling of the classics. Early in the evening the sound system provides a discreet jazz and swing soundtrack; later the music goes live, with mostly jazz- and blues-orientated artists.
129 City Road
|Opening hours:||Open 6pm-1am Mon-Wed, Sun; 6pm-2am Thur; 6am-3am Fri, Sat|
|Transport:||Tube: Old Street tube/rail|
|Do you own this business?|
Average User Rating
4.3 / 5
- 5 star:22
- 4 star:10
- 3 star:2
- 2 star:3
- 1 star:1
Flamboyant and over the top but cocktails are not that great.
I went on a Wednesday night and the atmosphere was stuffy and a bit dull to be honest. Drinks are very overpriced and average tasting. We were in there for about an hour (two of us) and we spend £125...
Food was OK I guess, the chicken wings were so average yet sooooo spenny!
Would not recommend.
This, was, INCREDIBLE! I had such a fabulous evening out here. We did book 6 weeks in advance but we noticed people asking on the door and snatching some last minute spots. I was told on the evening as well that if you come by on the night around 6pm you can sometimes get a spot at the bar. I was emailed a week before arrival and advised to order a sharer cocktail in advance so that you had something to drink while ordering your first round, as the cocktails can sometimes take a while to put together. We got the punch sharer cocktail which delivered inside a swan and was scrumptious. My second choice was a whiskey based cocktail which was delivered inside a chocolate coated waffle cup. As you drank the cocktail you could literally eat the cup around it! If you are not a fan of sweets I would not recommend you try and tackle it, as it is a sweet tooths dream! (but even I couldn't finish it!).
The music was delightful, they were so enjoyable to listen to. I cannot wait to go back to listen to the music and working my way through more of the extensive cocktail list. I was worried booking so far in advance would build up the experience too much but it delivered perfectly. Finally if you don't know where this bar is located then make sure you got there a little earlier as it is very easy to walk straight past it!
Nightjar was such a find on my part, I definitely deserve a pat on the back.
Taking two friends looking for some quality jazz and drinks, I booked us a table at Nightjar and we weren't disappointed. An extensive cocktail menu is the showstopper here, divided into four categories (if you're proper, you'll travel forward in time) - but the speakeasy-style design, dark furniture, cassette-style ceiling and friendly staff are all an added plus.
Drinks are on the pricier side, starting from £12, but presentation and taste are incredibly exciting. You never know what you're going to get - the Little Devil cocktail came in a stainless steel cup with a Slytherin-style snake wrapped around it, finished off by a winegum chilli on the side to go with the drink; the Cafe Kirsch came in a coffee cup on legs, with a rim of dark chocolate mousse. The Moulin Rouge offered a mini-egg on the side and was offered with a hibiscus rim. Every drink here has its own personality and you can't really go wrong.
Word of advice: eat beforehand if you're starving, because no matter how many little plates you order, they probably won't be enough. The vegetable tempura was more like deep-fried vegetables American style and with way too much salt; the ham and cheese board for £22 only comes with two thin slices of bread and for some reason you're not allowed to obtain more it seems. They also run out of food quite quickly, so best to pre-order on booking.
The music is always incredible though; you feel transported back in time and each show is carefully selected for the best kind of music.
All in all, an albeit pricey but very enjoyable evening and hopefully I will return!
The Nightjar offers the perfect speakeasy experience!
Immediately after passing its unmarked door open to a dark staircase, you get a hint of a typical prohibition-like, jazzy atmosphere from another era. And indeed, downstairs the whispering of the crowd melts smoothly with the shadows of candlelights on the brick-walls. Old-fashioned ceiling lamps shed a subdued light on the narrow stage, making the jazz concert an impressive show as well as an intimate ambience.
But the real stars of the night are undoubtedly the cocktails. Everything matters: the menu (presented on a card deck), the glass itself (don't miss the snail-shaped tea pot), the tasteful decorations (subtle touches fruits, smoked barks or flowers), and of course the flavours, ranging from the rich, fruity aromas of the pre-prohibition cocktails to the woody or citrusy notes of the post-war ones.
Nightjar is a speakeasy bar close to Old Street in East London, highly recommend to make a reservation in advance. We were lucky and I managed to arrange a reservation for 3 people during the live performance. And waw, my friends and I purely loved it! First of all I must say that the staff is incredibly helpful and friendly! The bar itself is a cosy, underground basement, perfect for a romantic date! The cocktails are delicious and some unique combinations are made in Nightjar. You can have some small bites as well if you are really hungry. The band is a real plus and they were absolutely amazing!
Maybe a small minus is the acoustic, we were sitting in front of the band and it wasn't really easy to have a conversation, but we could enjoy the band, which was great!
Having visited Nightjar on numerous occasions, I cannot fault it.
Firstly, the bar itself: prepare to step into a den of iniquity, a throwback in time to 1920s Prohibition era America. Standing is not allowed so you'll need a table; you can end up crammed in but not in an uncomfortable way; rather, it just enhances the experience.
Secondly, the music: a rich array of different types of jazz dependent on the night, each with its own flavour. I've yet to visit and not like whoever's playing.
Thirdly, the drinks: prepare to pay double figures for a cocktail. However, the care and quality that goes into each creation makes it worthwhile. The Old Fashioned is flawless and there are a number of bizarre concoctions to try.
MOST IMPORTANTLY - book well in advance to avoid disappointment! Two weeks, even on a weeknight. You can queue up and chance it and, if there are two of you then you'll probably be okay. But in a larger group, definitely book.
This place is such an experience, each cocktail is beautifully crafted! We cam e here for after work drinks ... it was perfect as usually they book up so far in advance for the later music slot (which i've been to before and us girls loved the music) but even early on without the live music the atmopshere is great and the drinks were incredible! Will go again!!!
If you love delicious cocktails – then this place is for you… The selection of boozy concoctions are inspired, elaborate and very tasty. Add to that, a candle-lit cosy ambiance, brilliant bluesy live music and fantastic service – you’re guaranteed to have a great night… Highly recommended.
More than drinks, more than a bar, nightjar is a true experience. If you like jazz and specially the 30's/40's/50's you will love it! It was one of my high moments in London!
A good test for a really good cocktail bar is if they can make the classics that are not on the menu...Hemmingway Daiquiri and Mint Julep were very average. Excessive garnishes make you feel like you are wearng your drink rather than drinking it.
I haven't been here yet but I'm seriously intrigued. My friend and I are traveling to your fantastic city in late November early December. We will be coming from the states...San Diego and Phoenix to be exact. Signed up to receive any updates and specials you may be planning. Looking forward to having a superb cocktail and toast our new friends in London!!!
I've had a drinks at NightJar a few months back and it was really lovely atmosphere and amazing cocktails indeed. However yesterday (Friday night) I came back and received the worst and most shocking customer service I've ever experienced! I've started my evening elsewhere, at a private Prohibition party with a bunch of friends. The party had ended around midnight and as we were already dressed the part, my friend and I (we're both females) had decided to go to NightJar for a late cocktail. We arrived just after 12 and had to wait outside for about 15-20 minutes as we hadn't booked a table, together with a few others. That was fine and we chatted and waited patiently to get in, to what we had imagined was a busy bar. Oh how we were wrong. The place was half empty with only a few tables filled with mostly couples. We were sat by a dark, corner and intimate table, with only one person near us. As we were just 2 friends, the romantic setup did not feel right. We've noticed the 6-8 available bar stools and asked the waitress to move there. As we got up, the waitress told us off and said we should go back to our table as she needed to check if we are able to move to the bar. I've asked if those are reserved seats and she said no. She went on to ask the bar-staff and the two gents looked us up and down and shook their heads, which made us feel very uncomfortable. The waitress had got back to us and quite rudely said that we are not able to move as we would "disrupt" the service and the bar stuff are too busy making drinks for other guests. I have to say, that we were NOT drunk, typsy or loud and we dressed very smartly for a 1920's style party. Needless to say we left and did not wish to stay for a second moment. I've never came across anything like this before and quite honestly if they can't accomodate guests at the bar, they should remove the stools and not the guests... I will never go back and if you value good, customer service that is not arrogant nor pretentious you should stay away from this place too...
I visited Nightjar on the first Thursday night of the new year, to meet with a friend I hadn't seen in years. When I booked over the phone that day, the staff were very friendly and accommodated my request to be tucked away around the corner somewhere quiet. Upon arrival the member of staff on the door was quite impolite in manner as she took my name and walkie-talkied through to her colleagues downstairs, but I would expect no more of door staff! Once inside, it was a completely different story. I was bowled over by the gorgeous interior, especially its amber lighting with tea-lights and the reflections on the gold roof and glass cabinets around. The staff were great - struck the balance between professional and chatty/smiley just right, showing me to my table. Service was quick, and needless to say the cocktails were fab. My only criticism would be this... we came early evening to avoid staying to watch the live music (the division of these two stages of the night when making reservations is awkward enough as it is, but understandable), and were told we could have our table until 8:45pm. However at 8pm, a waitress came to our table (and all of the other tables around us) and informed everyone that there was a large group coming, so could we please start finishing our drinks. Luckily we had other plans, but I thought it was quite cheeky! The table we had supposedly been given until 8:45 was pulled from under our feet half an hour early! For that reason my 5* rating falls to a 4*.
To update some of the posts here - there is a cover charge, which they add on - even if you don't stay for the music! It was my first experience of the Nightjar last night - wanted to experience the Piaf tribute as part of the Chanteuse theme. The vernue itself is excellent and the initial service by the Australian waitress was attentive and professional. But it was all downhill from there. When the act came on, it was as if she was expected to perform in the middle of a rugby scrum. The noise of the clientele was off the decibel scale and they showed no repect for the artist. If you expect to listen to the performers, then on this visit, the Nightjar is not a venue for serious music lovers. I had booked this venue for a company outing later this month - this won't be happenning. The food choice was over-priced, and very limited. There was no meat on the menue due to 'issues witht the meat slicer'! Need I say more? We ended up having the bill ammended - no way was I going to pay a cover charge for such an experience. The Manger was very polite and apologetic!
Wonderful. I hope not too many people discover it so I can keep enjoying it. Wonderful cocktails, friendly service, intriguing location and good music
What an amazing place! I have recently developed a taste for cocktails and have made it a mission to try out as many of the speakeasies as possible. This one is without a doubt, the best! The atmosphere, the music (particularly the live music), the extensive cocktail list and the staff all create a place that is exciting EVERY time. The attention to detail should be noted, even to the little pots of popcorn on the tables. Genuinely love this place
Great intimate venue. Service brilliant, hosts friendly and well informed. Music not quite to taste but congruous with the speakeasy feel. Will return!
following the trend of speakeasies which are popping up all over the city (Purl, Worship St. whistleshop, 69 Colebrook Row), following on a trend that milk and honey started 9 years ago, they just about get it right. The cocktails are good, not great, good beer list, and a good wine list, food is over priced for the amount you get, plus its open till 3 with no cover charge. which is a massive bonus. But if you you do get there wel into the night expect to be held at the door for an inexcusable amount of time before being let in, to see that there are over 4 tables free that you could have taken when you first got to the front door, and this is why. The bartenders are slow, if you are ordering a round of cocktals for 4 people or more, then buy a beer while you wait. This is because drinks will come out in dribs and drabs when they are ready not as a whole table order. Your beers will arrive first, then your cocktails bout 10-15 mins later and not at the same time, leaving that problem of the first person to get their drink will have finished by the time the last person gets theres. I waited nearlly 20 mins for 2 drinks, there menu is to big, to over compicated and the bartenders take a while to make, which then leaves the servers not wanting to make eyecontact with guests as they know what you are already going to ask, so this makes them seem unattentive. And they dont have Coke Cola, so having a classic rum and coke is off the cards. Good bar let down by poor, slow service, just order that beer.
I absolutely love the Nightjar. Just hoping it doesnt get too much buzz in London and find I can't get in one day! Fabulous attention to details when it comes to the cocktails. Highly recommended... not everyone at once though!
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