Warren Street doesn’t usually come to mind where cocktailing is concerned (unless you count Goodge Street just South), but right next to one of our favourite Mexican restaurant/bars Mestizo; Shaker and Co. suddenly sprung up.
It’s not easy running a cocktail bar round here, so I’m glad to see introduction of the Monday Cocktail Cinema Club, with movies of various eras and genres coming with 20 pounds for 2 pizzas and 2 cocktails. Pretty good deal if you ask me.
Décor upstairs is simple, wood tables and chairs, leather couch lining the walls. The beautiful and immense bar framed by a stag head is easy on the eyes though. The basement changes form now and again, once being a monastery, currently in a Belle Époque phase, comfortable for the cinema club. The basement can also be hired for a private venue for larger groups.
As for the drinks, this is a mixed bag. The cocktail list at first glance didn’t quite grab me. Quite of a few of the cocktails try to do more than they should – this isn’t saying there are no good drinks. Our first drink was nameless, limited and running for a short time only: rum, maraschino and gunpowder earl grey liqueur concoction – which was wonderful in its simplicity. Smoky, layered and slightly tart with lemon juice. It knew what it was there to do, and accomplished it. Very satisfying.
The Irish Blood, English Heart came with Irish whiskey, spiced port reduction, Benedictine, blood cherry liqueur, and mandarin bitters. Though sweet, it formed a neat dry drink. Not as fascinating as it sounds, but a good drink, over all.
I ended with the Gentleman’s Recline. Cigar infused Glenfiddich 12, stirred with Byrrh, Calvados, spiced port reduction, and liquorice bitters on ice. This drink, sadly, was a complete disappointment. Sometimes the calvados might sneak through, but otherwise was just a very orange-citrusy Old Fashioned. At 9.50, I felt a bit cheated.
What you can turn to, instead, is the wonderfully affordable and delightful food. I wish the drinks were more like the food and didn’t try so hard. I highly suggest the sweet potato wedges for snacks. The main focus: the pizzas, are excellent, as well as the smaller pizzettes. Cheese and charcuterie boards also available.
Shaker and Co. earns a decent score in great service and good food, but house cocktails can be hit and miss, primarily for usually having one more ingredient than necessary, or attempting to be too complex. Still, the right choice can make a difference. For their event nights, it’s certainly a fun stop and a great local if you live in the area.
Shaker and Company
119 Hampstead Rd,
London NW1 3EE