Category Archives: culture

Liberte! Egalite! Cabaret! PART DEUX! – a fundraising event for The Queer Alternative

The Queer Alternative is back with their second cabaret event to raise funds for Pride in London and beyond.

Acts include:
*PROFESSOR ELEMENTAL — Steampunk icon, Gentleman Rhymer and Chap-Hop artist extraordinaire
*THE DYKENESS — Intergalactic feminist cock rock
*LAURENCE OWEN — Musical comic with a dry and perverse wit
*ANGEL LaVEY — Comedic chanteuse and burlesque artist
*JACQUES BRUXELLES — Stand-up comic and boylesque performer
*WHISKEY ROXX — Gorelesque with a shot of the macabre
*NIGEL OSNER — Vampire cabaret
*MISTER MEREDITH — Lewd dandy charmer
*ERNESTO SAREZALE — Velvet tongue

DJs:
Frankie D (Slimelight, Flag Promotions),
Andy RavenSable (Monster Truck)
Scott (Alternative Bring and Buy)

RAFFLE PRIZES include:

TICKETS ARE £10 adv from http://www.wegottickets.com/event/286221

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#monthoffree

Unexpectedly, I have obtained a lot for not very much this month. Rather than bore you with several overly-adjectivised posts, here is a brief run-down of my swag:

 

24th April – two free tickets to Chivas Regal Open Row

  • Won via a Facebook competition, tickets (RRP £15) included two free cocktails, a tour of Savile Row’s dressmaking rooms, historic collections, cocktail masterclasses (albeit for a raspberry mule).  My highlight was a tasting of Chivas Regal’s collection of blended malts – 12, 18, and 25yrs.  The 18 was my favourite; smooth enough to hold in the mouth, yet intense enough to be interesting.

30th May – Mezcal tastings and supersized cocktails at El Nivel

  •  Obtained by sitting at the bar and criticising other establishments.  Full review here.

1st May – Pulled Pork and Burned Bits at Bodeans, Balham

  •   Thanks to being hawk-eyed and finding a 20% voucher prior to the branch’s opening.  Pulled pork is no longer a new phenomenon, and Bodeans is already one of the cheaper eateries with a good reputation, but the glee of finding something reasonable and not overly “young professional” (I mean, it’s basically Tooting) was welcome.  Pitfall: Their drinks are very good, so it’s easy to accidentally spend £40 on them while aiming for a cheap night out.

2nd May – Free cocktail at Coco Momo, Marylebone

  • Through being a member of their mailing list and taking advantage of a “Free cocktails due to the tube strike” offer”.  Their Coco Berry Julep was remarkably strong (tbh the whiskey should have been stirred in rather than poured over), which was a pleasant surprise when compared to the watered-down offerings you get at London Cocktail Week.

10th May – free brunch for two at Jackson & Rye

  • Won through a twitter competition.  Online reviews for this place were mixed but our experience was nothing but flawless.  The offer entitles you to £40 worth of food, and we had the Angler’s breakfast, Avocado Benedict, Pancakes, two rounds of coffees and health juices with more than £7 to spare.  Our waiter, an attentive but not intrusive francophone, made the whole experience incredibly pleasant.

17th May – Free champagne and snacks at Rivea, Bulgari Hotels & Residences, Knightsbridge

  • Found via a newsletter.  Inspired by the French and Italian seafront, Rivea offers tapas style small plates with a largely seafood and nut base.  Samples of what we ate are below.  While the recommendation is to have 4-5 plates, we were full with 2-3 (including our free tasting of the Rivea salad – similar to a nicoise) but couldn’t help trying the Thin gianduja palet (a light and satisfying chocolate and hazelnut praline) for dessert alongside a couple of cocktails (The Conqueror and Cherry and Pistachio Bellini, pictured).  Being of seaside heritage, we were impressed by the tenderness and flavours of the octopus, red mullet, and sea bream dishes.  The bill came to £83 including service despite our freebies, but given that this is an Alain Ducasse restaurant, the damage could have been a lot worse.

Elsewhere this month:

City Social – Sincerely beautiful view of London, with a very classic black and gold decor (even the toilets have floor to ceiling windows with 30s style beauty stations).  The bartenders know their stuff, even when ordering off menu.  However, I fear its location will cause it to degrade over time due to the prevailing clientele.  Get in to try the goats cheese churros before this happens!

Q Grill – We ordered unconventionally here, choosing one of every starter with a pair of cocktails.  Everything from the asparagus tips to the steak tartare was moreish.  Despite eating with abandon, we managed to stay low carb (diet points) and come away with a bill – after drinks and service – for £35 each.

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The Lost Angel Battersea – Fantastic roasts and Proper Cocktails for a fiver, Sundays here are fast becoming a favourite

Grain Store – From the people that brought you the irreplaceable Zetter Townhouse, it’s refreshing to see a menu that cares as much about its vegetarian clientele than the rest.  The cocktails are as adventurous as at ZTH (mustard martini and green tomato margarita) but the service can either over or underwhelm

The Black Heart  – Metal music and really well made Old Fashioneds in a laid-back bar…in Camden, unfortunately.

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Liberté! Egalité! Cabaret! – A fundraising event from The Queer Alternative

The Queer Alternative presents a night of music, comedy and cabaret with stand-up comedy from Andrew O’Neill, riotously catchy rock from The Priscillas, and London Cabaret Awards winner Benjamin Louche.

 

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Who: An award-winning line-up including EastEnd Cabaret, The Priscillas (B-movie power pop-rock band), Andrew O’Neill (Occult Comedian), Benjamin Louche (Lynchian daymare), Blanche DuBois (draglesque), Nathan Evans (performing artist), Preacher Muad’dib (record-breaking stuntman), Andromada Mystic (burlesque), Cola Falquero (drag artist), Allouetta La Zouch (gorelesque), Sabella (bellydancing), Tim Bishop (stand-up), Alex Shutler and Psyche (singer and pianist), and Ashleigh Loeb (compere/drama queen).

Music between the acts will be provided by DJs Frank Flag (Stripped), AndyRavenSable (Rivet) and Scott (Alternative Bring and Buy Sale).

What: Music, dance, burlesque and comedy with a queer sensibility that steps outside comfortable cliches. A raffle will also be held with prizes including a tickets to top alternative events including Alt-Fest, The Double R Club, DVDs and more.

Where: Elixir Bar, 162 Eversholt Street, NW1 1BL, London, UK

When:  Sunday 1st June 2014 18:00 to 23:00

Admission: Previous events have attracted a varied but friendly cross-section of goths, punks, metalheads, rivetheads and other counter-culturists. While many regulars fall into the LGBTQ+ spectrum, the events also attract straight and label-defying allies.

Tickets: £10 in advance from http://www.wegottickets.com/event/268639

About The Queer Alternative
The Queer Alternative began life in 2009 as a London LGBT+ Pride walking group. Their primary goal is to increase awareness and acceptance of queer people within the goth, metal and alternative scenes and raise the visibility of alternative people within mainstream gay culture. TQA aims to provide a safe space, both online and at events, for members of these subcultures to meet, network and share their passions. This year marks TQA’s first forray into event promotion outside Pride week, with the cabaret’s proceeds going towards a community float entry and after-party for this year’s Pride in London parade on 28th June 2014.


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Bufala Negra and Transmetropolitan

I am bored.  Let’s put things in a glass.

 

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I got the Bufala Negra off a website because I wanted to DIY with balsalmic.  It’s OK, but a bit flat for all the ingredients.  I used Buffalo Trace and dry basil – perhaps it would taste different if I used fresh basil and a drier whiskey (although this drink was dry enough).  I’d like to try a version with tomato juice instead of ginger ale and perhaps a Pisco base.

The Transmetropolitan is my own thing inspired by The Queer Alternative‘s upcoming event Liberté! Egalité! Cabaret!.  I’ve tried to make a stereotypically gendered drink queer and add an extra element to make this less binary. Sazerac Rye + Cointreau + Cranberry Juice + celery bitters.  It works very well, evoking both drinks simultaneously.  You only need one dash of celery bitters, else it becomes too overpowering, but it adds an extra dimension.  Still, I should have something in my cupboard to bring the mystery third element in better.  Ginger liqueur? Something spicy?  Something sweet?  Port reduction?

 

I need a bigger bar.

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Guest Post: Alexander & James

When Shreena Soomarah of ‘Anastrophe and Cheese’ invited me to a cocktail evening hosted by Alexander & James Spirits introducing their ‘Mixologist at Home’ bartending service, needless to say, my ears perked. I’ve turned to A&J before for procuring last minute gifts and they’ve certainly always satisfied – and who was I to turn down drinks on a Monday night?

Events so had it that I found myself knocking at the door of a private home in the back-streets behind City Road. Being the early bird that I am, I spent initial time I had before mingling with the other guests to observe the impeccably crafted minimalist loft and sneak in a conversation with the man behind the bar. Now, I did feel a bit guilty for a moment as James Fowler (owner of The Library Bar and The Larder House of Bournemouth, and finalist of the World Class UK Bartender of the Year 2013) glanced up attempting conversation while frenetically setting up the beginnings to his first cocktail – but still managed to hold his cool while guests got up close snapping pictures of the make-shift bar because there is no such thing as too-early-a-tweet. My excuse was having a good look at the spirits. Fantastic quality all-around, Tanqueray No.10, Zacapa 23, Ketel One – I was pleased. And not a Passoa or Grenadine bottle in sight, thank the stars.

I was cautious mingling at first (most of the guests seemed so as well), but the hosts of the event were wonderfully courteous in helping the crowd interact. Initially I was met with the same questions: “Are you a blogger?”
To which I could only reply, awkwardly, “A PhD researcher. But if it’s any consolation, I can sniff out all the bars in a 3 mile radius.”

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Now, I had a quick look at the list of six cocktails (classics, can’t go wrong with them) that will were to be swilled that evening, but the contents of said list hadn’t quite sunk in until the first drink was being passed around to the guests.
A Vesper Martini.
Eyes widened around the room as it seems it wasn’t just myself who realised the strength of the six on the menu until just now – considering we had under two hours for the event. Or as the suavely sartorial gentleman beside me muttered, “This will not end well.”

Now, I do love my gin Martinis – preferably with Sacred or No.3 – but a Vesper holds a special place in my heart as the first of the Martini family I drank as a teenager, and a drink that ignited my passion for cocktails.  Cheeky, starting off with a Vesper, but smooth – almost too smooth. I queried James about it and he admitted that he had altered the concoction to make it easier to down, considering the rest of the menu. I am not entirely sure how I feel about that decision. Brilliant and thoughtful, certainly – but simultaneously not staying true to the drink. I also noticed that menu booklet stated making the drink with Kina Lillet. Which would make sense if it was 1985 – but Kina has since been reformulated and rebranded as the much loved Lillet Blanc for a ‘modern taste’. Now unless A&J went in doctoring their Lillet Blanc with quinine, it’s probably best to stick with the brand’s current name.

Nonetheless, this ‘novice’ Vesper danced its way too easily to the Gimlet. News spread around the room (not entirely how true this was, but was entirely believable) that the Gimlet recipe was altered as well, to Gin/Lime : 50/50 (instead of the gin being twice the amount of lime juice). Again, probably for the best considering the intensity of the night’s drinks. Smooth, sneaky, seductive – a spectacularly well made Gimlet.

Onto the third drink, the night noticably took a different air – the crowd blended in whirling circles, the talk was louder, the swearing increasingly vulgar – the Margarita certainly came in with a flourish as she should. Simple, and staying true to its roots. Nothing like a drink reclaiming its ground after being bastardised by amateur bartenders through the years.

Things begin to get blurry as an Old Fashioned is thrust into my hand. I hear a glass shatter on the other side of the room. I give the glass a quick look-over – I was waiting for this one. Bulleit Bourbon was the one spirit on today’s menu I hadn’t sampled before and I was excited to get to know it better. My taste for whiskey is young and developing, and this high rye content bourbon was hitting the spot. I was thoroughly impressed by James’ work with this Old Fashioned, but couldn’t envy the amount of work that went into preparing the immense number of them that would have to be made for an entire party in such a short amount of time. Here his skills really made themselves evident as a finalist for the WC-UK Bartender of the Year.

A voice calls out from the crowd announcing that in 15 minutes we will have to make our way. A horrifying realisation that we haven’t sampled the last two drinks leads a charge to the bar – James is running out of tumblers as he makes a makeshift Negroni in a cocktail glass. We grab a shaky hold of the glass as I query about the final drink.
“But I haven’t even opened the rum yet!”
“If I said you were really attractive, would you?”
“…”
“…”
“OKAY BUT THIS WILL BE HURRIED”

And that’s how a group of sartorialists, foodies, cocktail enthusiasts and PR consultants found themselves double-fisting a Negroni and Daiquiri in the space of 10 minutes.

Regardless of the state we were finding ourselves in, two of us did stop to wonder what had happened with the Negroni. No doubt it was still a fine drink, but was a tad too sweet for a Negroni.  We hadn’t much time to contemplate the tipple as the Daiquiri took centre stage. There wasn’t time to set up a sugar syrup and rim station, so the Daiquiri had to go without – not that we were complaining. It did its job as a delightfully tart cocktail whose bitters balanced the sweetness of the sugar and Zacapa 23 rum perfectly – again, James’ ability to work under pressure was commendable and really showcased his skill.

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On being ushered out, we were handed goodie bags containing a wonderfully crafted cocktail glass, twisted mixing spoon, measure and miniature packed in Alexander & James’ signature cases; and the hosts were gracious enough to grant a second case of goods for my friend who could not make the night.

All in all, the night was outstanding, except for a couple of gripes.

For one, I thought it was odd that we’d be given a small batch of canapés that would be eliminated whilst on the first drink – considering that we would meet a barrage of aperitifs after. No doubt, the menu was crafted to display the bartender’s skill in the immortal classics – but the food and cocktail pairing with their timing was not spectacular. This would be less of a problem if there was a dinner after, but City Road doesn’t offer much at that time of night.

The second is less of a complaint, and more of a peeve –the branding “Mixologist at Home”. Mixology is a term that has existed in the world of bartending since the 40s, but has gained immense popularity recently. Except rather than suggesting innovation, is being thrown around left and right and now is slowly being equated with “person who makes Minestrones in a cocktail shaker”. Coupled with the fact that we drank purely classics, the term seemed a bit out of place – but like I said it’s a peeve, and I would not be surprised if you chose to disagree with me.

Stumbling our way to nearest station, one of the guests I got to know moans “I can’t believe I have to be awake at 8AM after this.”
Which is why I decided to cancel everything for tomorrow.
“Why, what did you have to do?”
I’m a PhD researcher. I’d probably have a hangover anyway.

Shehzad Raj is Martini-swigging, chocolate-devouring, espresso-downing, jewellery-crazy, make-up-obsessive, porn-loving, Jungian Post-Structural antihumanist and overall Bacchanologist who spends too much time being a complete irreverent sassbasket all over London.

You can follow his exploits @Liber_Azhdeha

Learn more about Alexander & James’ Mixologist-at-Home service

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If you keep being selfish, Santa will die

I used to be jolly and happy, a long time ago.  I made toys for little boys and girls. I loved my work and they loved me, but it just got out of hand. The world’s population kept growing and growing. Kids wanted more toys, fancier toys. We used to make wooden choo-choos and rag dolls. You ever try to make an iPod?! I’ve got orders for millions of ’em! Look at the toxic waste we’re producing. In fact, I think the toxins are taking even more of a toll than the inbreeding.

 

 

I started with one family of magic elves. And every year, I needed more and more to keep up. Now they’re just a sickly race of mutated genetic disasters. At least 60% of them are born blind. The work load destroys them, but they don’t know anything else. It’s gotten so their instincts take over and near the end, they just walk out into the snow and die.

Then, the reindeer eat them, which just turn the reindeer into wild feral creatures with a bloodlust for elf flesh.  I don’t even pray for them anymore. Seems pointless. What God would allow this?

– Santa

 

 

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This One Is On Us mentioned in the Empirical Musicology Review

This One Is On Us has been discussed in an article entitled “Artist autonomy in a digital era: The case of Nine Inch Nails”, which can be found in the Empirical Musicology Review, a journal created to “provide an international forum promoting the understanding of music in all of its facets”.

In the case of Nine Inch Nails, and returning to reciprocity, perhaps the best illustration of how  important the working relationship is between artist and fan can be found in the organisation This One Is  On Us, an international group of Nine Inch Nails fans who have filmed and produced a series of live  concert films, with high quality audio provided by Reznor himself. The commitment to work towards a  shared goal is inspirational, and indicative of their commitment to the band. Their positive mission  statement, below, draws together several of the threads discussed so far, shining optimistic light on the  potential future of how fans and artists will interact:

We aim to restore live music as a shared, passionate entity, and work with those who embrace new  media and the realities of the Internet to build on their relationship with fans through collaboration and to create unique documents of their live events. Providing organizational, technical and financial support, we encourage fan communities to plan and execute first-rate film and audio recordings, and turn the resulting content into professional quality releases. Direct fan involvement allows us to capture the essence of a live experience, not only providing a souvenir for those that attended, but also allowing the world to live the show virtually first-hand. This One Is On Us profoundly enhances the relationship between artist and fan; a revolution emerges where the two meet
(This One is On Us, 2010)

The full article can be read here.

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London Cocktail Week – The Weekend

This week is London Cocktail Week – seven days of workshops, tastings, pop-ups, and drink offers.  There’s far too much going on to be able to sample everything, so my friends and I have decided to stick to the cocktail tours on the website.  This is how we got on.

Saturday

1.) The Player

The Player, and in particular their sliders provided by Lucky Chip, have been hotly touted by review sites and magazines recently, so it was right at the top of our list of places to try.  The reality of the venue was extremely underwhelming, however, with decor that was more of a throwback to the 70s than anything the name or reputation suggested.  Our waitress told us that the LCW offer was a take on the daquiri with added gin and grapefruit.  She then proceeded to bring us two margheritas.  Oh well, at least the food looked good.

2). La Perla

The sister bar of Cafe Pacifico, our visit here was brief but successful.  We ordered a trio of margheritas which were well balanced, hit the spot, and almost made us forget our previous stop.  This bar is also close to Bam-bou and Bourne & Hollingsworth (also on the LCW list) which I had been to before and enjoyed, so it was also nice to know that there was another place to visit in the area.

3). Dabbous

I wasn’t sure what to expect of Dabbous.  It’s a Michelen-starred restaurant with a bar that, from the website, looks like it would be at home in New York.  On arrival, we were quickly taken to our reserved area in the downstairs bar, which luckily was a lot more low-key and low-lit than anticipated.  Our service was speedy, our drink interesting if a little juicy (and again a good sign that this was something from their standard menu), and our experience fun.  The bar snacks were slightly overpriced, however, at £8 for a boiled egg and £9 for four cubes of cheese, but if you save your appetite for the (surprisingly reasonably priced) menu above, the prospect of returning becomes very attractive indeed.

4). Reform Social and Grill

I had very high hopes for this one.  Housed in the Mandeville hotel, which has a reputation for being “for men” and with an afternoon tea that is either “vintage” or “gentleman”, I thought it would be exactly what I was looking for.  So much so, that I opted to bring high heels and fully fashioned stockings with me for the occasion.

The hotel is very boyish, with chesterfield sofas, car models, and a lot of dark wood.  What let it down, however, was the clientele.  They were nothing particularly rude or low-class, but of course this being a hotel just off Oxford Circus, it was populated with tourists in trainers and rainproof coats – not exactly the sartorial experience I was expecting.  Still, I made myself comfortable, draping myself across a sofa with my bra exposed and sipping on the biggest gin sour I’ve ever seen in my life.  I might come back here, position myself where there are a lack of humans, and daydream about the 50s.

Sunday

1) Smatt’s Rum & Ice  Cream Shack

Hugely popular, and by consequence hugely overcrowded, this LCW pop-up has a simple theme – rum in drinks and rum in ice cream.  Their cocktails are largely based on classics, and their ice creams are largely based on their cocktails.  By Sunday evening, they could be forgiven for having run out of several flavours, but with the experience being the reason for our visit, we tried a couple of pineapple-flavoured scoops.  As an alcoholic thing it’s not very remarkable, but as an ice cream it is quite interesting.  I probably wouldn’t order this in a restaurant but I would want a tub to take home for a dinner party.

2) Westbourne House

There is little of interest in Bayswater, and to an extent Westbourne House echoes this.  The decor might have more in common with Croydon or Chelmsford that Notting Hill, but the service takes strides to make up for this.  Surprisingly, we were offered a choice of seven LCW cocktails to choose from, and went for a Bloody Mary and Raspberry fizz.  Both were fairly weak and inoffensive, but we were partly glad to be visiting somewhere that didn’t overload the drinks with lemon juice.  There was a nice roaring fire, reasonably priced tapas, but no real soul.

3). Beach Bar Babylon

Despite the fact that BBB were hosting the LCW shuttle service, our waitress informed us on arrival that they “had stopped the offer…it was just a vodka bubblegum thing anyway”.  Sat in opulent chairs by a roaring fire, we decided to stay on anyway, and ordered an a la carte cocktail and a pear cognac.  The decor upstairs is confusing, but the restaurant below has echoes of the Catacombs in Paris, with booths set into stone walls and several alcoves and alleyways.

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London Cocktail Week: Day 4

This week is London Cocktail Week – seven days of workshops, tastings, pop-ups, and drink offers.  There’s far too much going on to be able to sample everything, so my friends and I have decided to stick to the cocktail tours on the website.  This is how we got on.

Thursday

1). Paramount

Paramount lives on the 32nd floor of Centre Point.  Until recently it was a members-only club, and the entrance procedure remains quite hush-hush; you need to be on the guest list, you need to give your name on arrival  and an operator will put you in the lift and tap in a code to get you up there.  I can understand why they don’t want this place to be made available to the unwashed masses.  With amazing panoramic views of London, appropriate level lighting, and an impressive drinks list, it’s the sort of place you would want to make an effort for. And the fact that the clientele had made the experience even better.

Our cocktail was a curious orange-gin-elderflower mix, with added vinegar and Noilly Prat.   It was a slow drink, with several layers of aftertaste.  I’m not quite sure if I liked it, but the experience of being at Paramount was worth any displeasure with the cocktail.

 

 

2). Circus

I’d been to Circus before, so knew what to expect from the venue.  It is essentially a high-end restaurant with Big Top-style entertainment.  The eating area has a long waiting list, but the show can be enjoyed for free from the bar area.  Food is expensive, but drinks are reasonable, with glasses of wine from £5.

Circus were offering a similar cocktail to Paramount, but with decidedly fewer frills.  Gin, an earl grey liqueur, and lemon juice made up the bulk of this drink, which came with a marshmallow perched on top.  This was perhaps one of the few venues that was making the most of LCW by showing off the best of their talents.  The drink certainly suited the venue, and was good enough for us to order a second round – for the first time all week.

 

 

3). Dial Bar

They had “run out” of their sponsored spirit.  This was baffling, so we left

 

4). Detroit

Again, an old favourite with a decent offering for LCW.  Detroit doesn’t look like much when you arrive.  The walls are garish, the seating basic, and you might be mistaken for thinking that this were a student bar.  But the bartenders certainly know their stuff.

Making the most of London Cocktail Week, Detroit offered us one of the signature sours from their menu.

 

 

5). L’Atelier de Joel Robuchon

This Michelin-starred restaurant would usually be above and beyond my budget, but the LCW offer found us winding up the night in their top floor salon, leisurely sipping (suitably) Prohibition-era Mary Pickfords (light rum, pineapple juice, pomegranate grenadine & Maraschino liqueur) until long after the tubes had shut.  This stop, if not this evening, made the entire event worth it.  It was a chance to sample something a little exotic from a connoisseur of the field – quite a treat!

 

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London Cocktail Week: Day 3

This week is London Cocktail Week – seven days of workshops, tastings, pop-ups, and drink offers.  There’s far too much going on to be able to sample everything, so my friends and I have decided to stick to the cocktail tours on the website.  This is how we got on.

Wednesday

1). Boyd’s Brasserie

A few moments away from Trafalgar Square, Boyd’s is a huge marble-looking room with several opulent wingbacked chairs mixed with Conran barstools and dining tables.  Its standard bar menu is reasonable (if a little short), so we started the night here with the hopes that it would be a place worth returning to in future.  The LCW consisted of a gin sour, a whiskey/ginger cocktail, and a fruitier option with pimms and mint.  We went for the second and third options  but was surprised to find that our cocktails were priced at £11 each, as opposed to the £4 expected on the promotion.  The menu (pictured below) did not suggest what our waitress later confirmed, that only the first cocktail was a part of the LCW offer, the remaining drinks being “bartender specials”.  Luckily, the bar manager accepted our complaint, saying that our initial waiter should have pointed this out and that it was his first day, and let us have the two drinks for £4.

Despite the menu farce, the service was very good and reasonably swift, the ambiance was cosy but classy, and the drinks were excellent.  Boyd’s is in just the right part of town to be a reliable last minute pit-stop, so we’ll more than likely return.

 

 

2). Christopher’s

There’s very little of worth to say about Christopher’s.  With lashings of Jack Daniel’s, innuendos all over the menu (where apparently JD is worth upgrading a Woodford Reserve Old Fashioned to by £5) and club music, this “Martini” bar would probably be a perfect place for those in their late teens or early 20s.  Their LCW cocktail contained Jack Daniel’s Honey, Limoncello and cranberry juice.  It was pretty abysmal.

Christopher’s does have very comfortable booths (spacious enough to sleep in!), but for good quality drinks it’s probably worth skipping across the road to b@1 (if you like your drinks trendy and juicy) or rolling down the hill a few steps to Cellar Door (which is unmatched for its cabaret, vintage ambience, and outstanding classic cocktails).

 

 

3). The Bourbon Empire

An LCW pop-up, this cash bar was comfortably busy for a Wednesday night.  Unlike several of the sponsored venues, The Bourbon Empire – sponsored by Buffalo Trace Bourbon – served a number of cocktails including Manhattans and Sours, along with a range of shots and bourbons to be savoured slowly.  Although service was a little slow, my Manhattan was flawless, and it’s such a shame that I won’t be able to come back again!

 

 

4). The Covent Garden Cocktail Club

Again, were I in my late teens, fascinated by Jack Daniel’s, and up for a bit of a dance with a posher-than-usual drink, I would probably come here.  But, sat at the bar with memories of my bourbon cocktail still fresh in my mind, I could only watch in distain as the side-cap wearing bartender poured vodka and pomegranate simultaneously into a glass, sprinkled dessicated coconuts over it, and handed me my “cocktail”.

We poured most of our drinks into a nearby pot plant and headed back to Cafe Pacifico for a reliable mojito to wash the taste out.

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