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Basement bar at Soho’s Rustiko focusing on Italian aperitivos.
Aperitivo time – Italy’s answer to the happy hour – is now a fully established London trend. Soho Italian joint Rustiko has joined the pack, creating a cocktail den in its basement named The Shed. There’s a narrow spiral staircase down, although no fanfare to give the game away. We were the only drinkers all night, and staff were occasionally surprised – confused, even – to find us making use of the space for its all-new purpose. They offered to put some tunes on to lift the atmosphere, but it never transpired.
This lack of ceremony seems incongruous given the lengths they’ve gone to to make this look like a fun bar space. Shiny knick-knacks litter the room, although they lack any unifying theme (guitar-shaped pillows, cartoon rabbits in picture frames). A Brighton Rock blue-and-white [don’t know what this means] colour scheme is attractive, though, and there’s a nifty corrugated iron ceiling (the only shed reference we picked up on).
That happy hour is a really strong offering, with traditional spritzes and Italian-leaning drinks tasting great. The American Sour is a must-try for any whiskey drinker. But you have to order bar snacks to accompany drinks, and while polenta chips and arancini were satisfying, we were overcharged for both at the end of our visit. Currently, The Shed feels like an afterthought. Maybe look elsewhere for a less gloomy happy hour.
Rustiko, 7 Old Compton St
|Transport:||Tube: Tottenham Court Road.|
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