Shochu Lounge

Bars and pubs, Cocktail bars Fitzrovia
Recommended
4 out of 5 stars
3 out of 5 stars
(7user reviews)
 (© Jonathan Perugia)
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© Jonathan Perugia
 (© Alys Tomlinson)
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© Alys Tomlinson
 (© Alys Tomlinson)
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© Alys Tomlinson
 (© Jonathan Perugia)
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© Jonathan Perugia

Beneath landmark Japanese Roka, this buzzing, chic bar specialises in drinks built around the vodka-like spirit from which it takes its name.

The decor is right out there – some of London’s wackiest murals adorn the walls – but the abundance of lovely dark wood and the low lighting give a total visual effect that’s not just soothing but subtly seductive. And the seating reinforces it, with lots of places where two people can settle in and feel they’re in their own little nook. One wall is lined with big demijohn-like tanks of shochu, the traditional Japanese spirit, which takes centre stage – it comes flavoured with interesting additions like plum or sweet potato and forms the basis of many of the fine cocktails. There’s nowhere else like this in London.  

By: Richard Ehrlich

Posted:

Venue name: Shochu Lounge
Contact:
Address: Basement, Roka
London
W1T 1RR
Cross street: 37 Charlotte Street
Opening hours: Open 5.30pm-midnight Mon-Sat; 5.30-11pm Sun. Food served 5.30-11.30pm Mon-Sat; 5.30-10.30pm Sun
Transport: Tube: Goodge Street or Tottenham Court Road tube
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Average User Rating

3.2 / 5

Rating Breakdown

  • 5 star:0
  • 4 star:4
  • 3 star:0
  • 2 star:1
  • 1 star:1
LiveReviews|7
1 person listening
1 of 1 found helpful

I like drinking shochu, but it's hard to find in the UK. A bottle which is typically a couple of pounds in Japan can go for as much as thirty pounds in an asian supermarket. I've been to this bar and the upstairs restaurant a few times. Roka, the restaraunt is nothing special and hideously overpriced. The Shochu lounge is quite atmospheric and if you just want a couple of plates of yakitori and a beer, it's overpriced but bearable. However, I went there last night just to have a glass of shochu. When I asked for this the waitress said "Which flavour?" Now the drink shochu is made from either barley, sweet potato or rice, each with its own distinct flavour. My surprise came when the waitress said "Rasberry or jasmine?" Er, just straight on the rocks please, I asked...To which the waitress said "We just have rasberry and jasmine." followed by "Shochu doesn't have any taste so you have to flavour it." My companion went for the jasmine, at £7 a glass! Tasted horrid. This is like going into a wine bar and being offered 'banana or avocado' wine as 'wine has no taste.' I mean, of course you can mix it, but why not be able to just drink it straight? Snooty staff who don't know what they're on about, and a bar called shochu that doesn't sell it. Decor's quite nice, but otherwise pretty naff all round.

tastemaker

If you’ve been to Roka on a TimeOut deal (a must, mind you and the only way to do it); then Shochu is probably only worth going for the Instagram worthy sakura display during sakura season. The bar is nice, albeit a little cramped and rather kitsch with a Japanese cartoon caricature painted wall. You have the option of choosing from a reduced bar menu or the Roka menu, but it won’t be a cheap night out and it lacks the sophisticated atmosphere of Roka. My whisky sour wasn’t bad but wasn’t anything to write home about and the gindara to kani no gyoza (black cod, crab and crayfish dumplings) were pretty disappointing unfortunately as were the six uramaki rolls I had. Can’t say that the cocktails blew me away and there’s definitely some novelty factor with the sakura and my friend’s cocktail which came in a samurai shaped vessel. Overall, it’s not a bad establishment, I just feel that there are many other places at that price (or lower) where you could probably have a much better cocktail experience. 


Tip: try the TimeOut Roka deal instead for a meal that’s fantastic value for money


Good For: business drinks, date night, a little bit fancy, novelty factor
tastemaker

This has to be one of the most intagram-ed bars of the moment and I could see why when I recently went! The beautiful cherry blossom ceiling they have created is absolutely stunning with its pink lighting it looks incredible! The bar already had character with its colourful wall mural but has now definitely taken it up a notch! The atmosphere is intimate and the low lighting gives it that extra romantic feel. Great place for a date and the cocktails match the class, even the non-alcoholic drinks were delicious! Visit soon before the cherry blossom is gone, you will really feel like you're in Japan!


Antonie our bar tender was lovely however the reception staff were extremely rude when leaving and also not helpful on arrival

Staff WriterStaff Comp

Always great for a pre or post dinner cocktail. Last night we had a fab meal at Roka followed by a G&T in Shochu Lounge. I love the ice block that they cut for your cocktails, good atmosphere and ideal for a date night

Tastemaker

Not the greatest service at this bar, it’s not very big and rammed in the evenings. The staff are somewhat moody and not very approachable, the music was super loud and when we popped in, the DJ was primarily playing dance/trance music which I’m not particularly partial to when just out for a drink. Probably wouldn’t go back for drinks but still need to eat at ROKA, so will definitely go back for that, stay tuned!

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