"Books are good enough in their own way, but they are a mighty bloodless substitute for life." Thank you Mr Robert Louis Stevenson, no doubt another graduate of the school of hard of knocks. While there’s nothing like experience, the written word still remains relevant circa 2013, at least at Ezra Pound, a semi-clandestine speakeasy with a bookshelf sure to fill cocktail nerds with confidence.
Here’s Gaz Regan’s classic The Joy Of Mixology, cover to cover with Harry Craddock’s seminalSavoy Cocktail Book and Dave Wondrich’s Imbibe!. Further along this murderer’s alley of boozy literature is Jim Meehan’s classic-in-waiting, The PDT Cocktail Book. And judging by the drinks being thrown together behind the bar, these tomes aren’t just there for decoration.
Take the Sloe Movement: starring Hayman’s sloe gin, Cointreau, quince preserve and citrus, it’s a potion ticking the boxes for both fruity and strong drink. The Monkey Gland adds absinthe to the gin plus citrus equation, the excellent interplay between the OJ, house grenadine and anise reaffirming that either on its own or as a cocktail ingredient, absinthe deserves more play.
Less polarising, perhaps, is the Hendricks-powered mandarin and rosemary Frapper, a hefty hit of the lamb-friendly herb lending a fragrant, woody note to things.
While the drinks lists change seasonally (hands up if you noticed juniper as a recurring theme in the drinks mentioned?), there’s enough high-proof ammo and know-how behind the bar to make your favourite Prohibition-era classic a reality.
Otherwise, you could always follow the lead of regulars and wrap your laughing gear around whatever long neck is in stock. While the bar sits literally and laterally at Ezra Pound’s heart (a word to the wise, this is a cash-only establishment), the rest of the joint isn’t without its – admittedly grungy – charm.
Well-weathered furniture and wooden wine boxes repurposed as light fixtures create a feeling of someone or something being down on their luck. But with well-mixed drinks in hand, black styrofoam trays of Blue Cow cheese to be scoffed and fresh tunes on constant rotation, life seems very Treasure Island down this graf-covered Northbridge laneway.