Just getting into this cult destination can feel like cause for celebration. Not only is the queue epic, but Meat Liquor employs ‘good cop, bad cop’ strategies to manage it. On our visit, Bad Cop was played by a giant bouncer who prowled along the line ink-stamping hands: a ploy that stops late-comers from joining their friends mid-queue. Good Cop, meanwhile, was a doe-eyed girl with a tray of the famed deep-fried pickles to quell munchies. Inside, it’s dark and violently loud: more hell-raising nightclub than restaurant. Signs point out the rules (‘No suits’, ‘No ballet pumps’). The graffiti murals are occult-themed, and the staff heavily tattooed. The Deep South cooking is gutsy stuff, with the likes of crunchy-coated ‘bingo wings’ served not only with a terrific Louisiana-style hot sauce but an authentic blue cheese dip. There are cheese steaks and dogs, though the real show-stoppers are the burgers, with their firm, bouncy buns and juicy, pink-middled patties. The excellent ‘dead hippie’, made with a double-layer of patties, also benefits from finely diced raw onion, molten cheese, shredded lettuce and thick slices of gherkin – not forgetting the mellow and tangy ‘secret’ burger sauce. Sides are no side attraction, from perfect skinny fries to pillowy onion rings, and, as you’d guess from the name, staff make a mean cocktail too.
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