The Palace of Humbug (CLOSED)
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A rock bar fused with a cocktail joint upstairs at Callooh Callay.
Please note, The Palace of Humbug is now closed. Time Out Drink Editors, November 2017.
‘What if a rock bar was trying to break into the World’s 50 Best Bars?’ This idea apparently led award-winning Shoreditch cocktail joint Calooh Callay to open a new bar upstairs, featuring an entirely different menu to its usual offerings. But having visited, I’m not sure I know the answer to the question they’ve posed.
This isn’t really a rock bar by any stretch of the imagination. There’s a big, hazy painting of a Hendrix-like guitarist hoisting an axe aloft, Fleetwood Mac is on the sound system and you can gawp at some display copies of records by Bryan Adams and Meat Loaf (interesting definition of ‘rock’ there). This is teamed with menus on acetates, glowing plastic tables that look like light-boxes and the kind of white-washed/bare brick interior you’d expect in any chi-chi Shoreditch cocktail joint. If this is a rock bar, Ed Sheeran is heavy metal.
The drinks menu is a nine-beverage list of cocktails named after emotions (Anxiety, Contentment, etc). Shame was a light, barleyish peachy confection, Surprise looked like a martini while tasting like a boozy cream soda, but Confidence was less enjoyable: like a glass of sweet nothingness. Overall, The Palace of Humbug is definitely not as good as its downstairs sibling venue, but it’s fine. Solid as a rock, you might say.
65 Rivington Street
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