Thursday, 21 July 2016

Date idea: Experimental Cocktail Club

In front of an old dusky unmarked door in China Town Soho, stands an unintimidating plainly, yet slightly smartly dressed man smoking a cigarette. To any unknowing tourist or local passer by, this door is nothing but just that, a door. And the man, just another man lulling about on the grey streets of Central London - but hidden behind this dark, paint strewn wooden door, is one of London's best kept secrets.

As the man with the cigarettes slyly nots when you ask if this is the place, the door is opened and a whole new world appears. The dark, dimply lit narrow staircase and the slow hum of the secretive crowd above transforms you to the likes of old victorian London. At the top of the staircase the only well lit room can be seen - the cloakroom, you asked if you have a booking and if not, if there's space - then you are lead to one of the few low seated bohemian chairs and metal tables. Inside, the bar is lit  lambently with only candles and the occasional faded yellow toned lamp on the eerie staircases. The ceilings are high and in the centre of the only wall to face though outside, is a large decedent crescent window. The sound of an acoustic guitar can be faintly heard from the floor above, which is occupied with far less guests, gathered around an unknown man with a raspy but delicate voice. The candles fill the room with a low reddish hue, filling the room with an air of sensuality - a harsh contrast from the dull outside metropolitan world.

A you take your seat, a tab is taken and you are handed a small paper menu with around six drink options to choose from. The drinks are unusual and, as the name would suggest.. rather experimental - not for the unadventurous that's for sure, not a Cosmo nor a Mojito in sight! The cocktails themselves are a little on the pricey (and some, unusually spicy) side, at around £13 a pop - but boy are they strong. I have only been there once but I have been told that the cocktail menu changes around every few weeks or so, so that there's always something new to try. When I visited around a month or so ago, the choice was so unbearably hard to make that me and my date needed up ordering 'one of the most delicious and one of the least delicious' drinks on the menu, a risky move but it was great fun. I took the most delicious of course, which although I don't remember any ingredient other than ginger and (maybe?) elderflour, was exactly that! Unfortunately the other tasted rathe uncanny to petrol, but that's all a part of the fun (and also my date's problem not mine!)

As you sit surrounded by other guests totally engaged with one another and the unusual and obscure environment that encircles them, you feel as though you are a part of something. As though you are some kind of secret agent in a artsy spy movie. The only thing missing is the smoky air filled by the cigars that would have encased such a place decades ago. The guy I took there told me later that although it was one of the most pricey (we had three cocktails each in the end, before moving swiftly on to Dirty Martini for a few more!) it was the most fun and unusual date he had been on since arriving in London six months prior. I would 100% recommend this to anyone with a bit of an adventurous side and values the art of experience. Think I'll be taking another visit very soon... or at least, when I next get payed!

Belle x


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