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A visually arresting Shoreditch bar that boasts a range of its own cocktail novelties and difficult-to-forget decor
Despite its inconspicuous location at the bottom of a spiral staircase on a quiet street in Shoreditch, Ninetyeight is not a bar afraid of its own ostentatiousness. Inside, it’s as bizarre as it is colourful, and a range of quirks in the decor – from spray‐painted chairs to toy dinosaurs on the walls to a ‘bandage room’ (literally a room in which everything is covered in bandages, available for private hire) – places this joint above the darker, stuffier cocktail bars nearby.
Cocktail‐wise, you’re looking at a small but impressive menu of original innovations (no bog‐standard mojitos or margaritas here); the Candylife, served with enough strawberry puree, yoghurt and Haribo to overwhelm its vodka base, will please anyone who favours sweetness above all, while the Smoking Head (whiskey with coffee liqueur and orange bitters) and the Chilli Treasure (chilli‐infused tequila, lime and agave syrup) should satisfy anyone after something a bit harder. In terms of sheer quality, you can’t go wrong with their Green Lady: gin complemented by cucumber, apple and cucumber liqueur and pepper – the latter of which didn’t quite give the kick it was probably supposed to, but the rest of which worked well for an easy‐drinking yet complex cocktail.
Ninetyeight is practically empty in the late afternoon and early evening, but the crowds really ramp up from sundown until closing (at 1am). Despite that, table service is the norm and the servers are as friendly as they are knowledgeable about their menu. That menu is, with nine items, limited in scope, but you can’t fault the creativity behind each drink. Most crucially, though, Ninetyeight delivers something few other cocktail bars in the area can: genuine fun.
98 Curtain Road
|Price:||All cocktails £10|
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