Time Out says
Friendly warning! We're working hard to be accurate. But these are unusual times, so please check that venues remain open.
Cocktail hangout with a tropical vibe and sustainable ethos.
A pony-tailed doorman with a face tattoo shakes my hand before leading me below ground. Then, I’m meeting the whole Nine Lives team. I’ve only dropped by for an after-work tipple, but it feels like a family gathering (albeit a lot more trendy than the ones I’m used to – sorry, mum). In fact, it’s more of a family fiesta, with woven lampshades, wicker furniture, hanging baskets and low lighting, all making this feel like a covert jungle hangout in Costa Rica – one with a plush finish, mind. Apt that it should have the feel of such a green-looking country, since the bar operate on a no-waste policy.
According to their website, the team has ‘painstakingly given a shit’ while drawing up the drinks menu. Yet our waiter couldn’t tell us the story behind the name of Tonatiuh, a cocktail made from mezcal, bitters, vermouth and passionfruit that nearly knocked my friend out (he’s the Aztec sun god, fyi). Service staff didn’t impart much of the sustainability stuff, either. I know, I know, nobody likes a drinks bore, but there are some great stories to tell here. Like how they claim to re-use lemon pith to create essential oils for the bar’s liqueurs; or how they compost waste to help nurture a herb garden put to use in cocktails. It would be fun to learn more about the bar’s full-circle approach to drinking.
Still, the cocktails we tried were delicious, fruity and balanced, including the Alright Blossom, a low-ABV blend of prosecco, raspberry, rose and hibiscus, and the Kuti Bird, a pineapple-tinged mix served in a black tiki mug. Instead of charging the earth for these earth-friendly drinks, they’re throwing a ‘rent party’ on Saturdays with a £5 cover charge to help pay the bills. A sound system recycled from their long-gone neighbour Cable nightclub fills the air with mellow lounge disco, Sly and The Family Stone’s ‘A Family Affair’ included.
If you already have an indoor booking that you want to adjust due to these new restrictions, please get in touch to see if we can move you outside, or consider reducing the size of your booking rather than cancelling altogether. We have worked incredibly hard to keep the place safe and comfortable for all so we need your support and good vibes now more than ever!
Nine Lives x