The Drunken Oyster
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An Italian-themed cocktail bar above a Jason Atherton restaurant
Things turned orange again this summer. Londoners were up to their eyeballs in spritzes, with the Italian way of drinking as in fashion as ever (when the sun managed to appear). Although there’s nothing Continental about the appearance of this bar above a Jason Atherton restaurant – big, bold and blue, it almost looks like Bada Bing!, the strip joint in ‘The Sopranos’ – it has its feet fully immersed in the aperitivo pond. Spritzes are literally on tap.
For more mob-pleasing drinks, make a beeline for the V&T list. That’s vermouth and tonic, and it’s mixed six different ways. Cocchi de Torino was served tall with a sprig of rosemary and a swirl of lemon peel: seriously refreshing. Cocktails went overboard on the theme, though: the White Diamond was a twist on an amaretto sour – that twist being a sickly whack of white truffle.
Bar snacks come from Hai Cenato’s kitchen downstairs, and the pizzas are a decent enough accompaniment to aperitivi. But cooped up inside Nova Victoria’s glass borders, The Drunken Oyster feels like a vibeless sports bar but without the fun service (in fact, service was laboured). My tip? Tap into £5 spritzes during happy hour and create an atmosphere of your own. Bada bing, bada boom.