Type of Bar: Tiny, Quirky, Members?
Ideal for: Date, Small Groups
Callooh Callay has become a Shoreditch institution over the past few years, but recently there has been discussion on what to do with the Upstairs Bar, aka the JubJub. Do we make it members only again? Do we give make it members only after 10 PM? (Free) membership will kick in in the summer, at which point it will become members only after 10PM, whilst open to the public before then.
So we’re gonna tell you what you need to know before any of that comes in the way of your evening’s plan.
The JJ @ CC gets a separate article because of its separate cocktail list by manager Matt Fairhurst; yes, its list is different from the first two rooms on the ground floor. The menu is shorter, but typically Callooh Callay.
The bar-in-a-bar-in-a-bar itself is tiny, though not necessarily intimate; it fits a lot of people in. It has CC’s traditional sense of décor, large teal and hardwood sofas alongside wooden stools against purple walls decorated with massive pieces of art from the Pure Evil gallery: like pin up girls on a beach against a nuclear explosion (?). It’s actually a very relaxed little space.
Drinks wise, there is no trend per se, but we see a degree of experimentation with flavour with CC’s signature quirkiness. For example, the Rum and Coke (aka. Smokey Cokey), is El Dorado 12yr rum with coke reduction and Fernet Branca.
We began with the Fernet Me Not is described as ‘floral’ for some reason. Cucumber, Tanqueray gin, lemon, topped with fizz. We don’t get much of the Fernet Branca, but the cucumber and the notes of cucumber in the gin stand out the strongest, almost ultimately. With the fizz we get a wonderfully refreshing drink that is simple, traditional, but effective.
Holy Guacamole, has mezcal, lime juice with blended avocado, coriander and chilli to make a spring-green cocktail very reminiscent of Casita’s Tequila con Verdita shot. The avocado brings a velvety texture to the drink, the coriander and chilli being rather subtle and just adding a little spring in its step. The mezcal is the star of the show ultimately, with its smokiness. Bright, spry, this cocktail is perfect to perk you up in the evenings.
The Fig Shrubble in Little Cynar which brought Agricole rhum with fig shrub, sweet vermouth and Cynar artichoke liqueur bitter – of whose flavours the most prominent was the Cynar and sweet vermouth, surprisingly! It certainly wasn’t unpleasant, but not what one expected, either.
Service is swift and attentive, in such a tiny space, it really has to be. Sitting at the bar feels a bit uncomfortable and cramped though, so I’d definitely request being at the tables. The low, backless chairs may provide a bit of difficulty if you’re spending a long time there.
The Jub Jub provides a very similar look to the rest of Callooh Callay in terms of décor and cocktails. As for experience, it is, thankfully, less crowded than the first two rooms – which are the two things that often makes me cross the street to NOLA when on Rivington Street. In many ways, this contributes to the argument to bring the JubJub back to members only status. The only way to avoid making it members only, I think, is to make sure that only the smallest groups of people can make bookings. Whatever the decision CC makes, the JubJub is still worth trying out when possible!
Drinks: ***, Arguably ****
The Jub Jub,
Upstairs @ Callooh Callay
65 Rivington Street, Shoreditch
London EC2A 3AY