Experimental Cocktail Club, Chinatown

Type of Bar: Speakeasy
Ideal for: –

This concerns me.

When we arrive at what is meant to be a discreet door (the glaring bouncer hardly makes it discreet) on Gerrard Street, we have to scramble through our phones for the ‘passwords’ sent to us only that day. Our party of 3 arrived the same time as some other party of 4 strangers who booked a table a few days before us, mind you, is forced to wait because they can’t access their emails.

Said party was turned away.

Yes, their name was on the list.

They fit the dress code well enough.

Announcing the silly password (‘Marie Antoinette’, oh my, how libertine. In any case 2014 brings the death knells of speakeasies.) we are led upstairs and forced to share an extended couch with about a dozen other people at least. Suffocating just to drink. Searching for the WCs, I find the upstairs area with empty tables all round. These were never filled in the hour we were there. If this is their definition of optimism, I grant them they deserve an award for it (If it was a concern about clashing reservations, see: Zetter Townhouse’s 2 hour slots).

On the other hand: my drink was very good. La Medicacion contains Calle 23 Reposado Tequila, Ramazzotti, St. Elizabeth Allspice Dram, agave nectar, ginger syrup and Del Maguey Mezcal mist. Strong, full of kick, with harmonious flavours.

I would have enjoyed it, if I could shake off the memory of the party downstairs.

London gives one many, many, many places for an excellent cocktail. A bar is meant to offer respite, and is meant to care for its visitors. A bar is meant to show concern and welcome its customers. And the attitude at the door, added to the forcing of people onto one floor, not to mention the cold service – stole a major part of what could have been a night with wonderful drinks.

It is out of principle that I don’t return here. The drinks may have been pleasurable, but it can be anyone the next time they show up at the door, expectant after having made their booking 10 days prior.

If they have hired decent staff now, the best to them. Otherwise, a bar is meant to cater to you. You are not meant to cater to a bar. Never forget that.

Many people seem to suffer this illusion that a bar has to be ‘exclusive’. That you have to fight your way in to have a decent cocktail. This is complete nonsense. The best bars in London have the utmost respect for the customer, and their care at heart – not their own arrogance.

If you feel you deserve to be in a venue that appeals to your sense of ‘exclusivity’, by all means, go ahead and enjoy the ECC. Meanwhile you’ll find me at award-winning bars like the Artesian.

Please refer to my List of Reviews for other attitude-less bars who rival & even beat the ECC in drinks, and serve up fantastic scores for Atmosphere and Service that ECC fails at. Some examples are: the Zetter Townhouse, Megaro, etc. And if you’re looking for ‘Experimental’, check out Peg + Patriot for some serious experimentation.

Also, Opium opened next door, they delight in hearing stories about the ECC. Order The Feather of the Phoenix with extra chilli.

I’ve never liked a place with the word ‘Cocktail Club’ in the name, mind you.

Drinks: ****
Atmosphere: ** 
Service: For the first time, here is a 0.

ECC Chinatown,

13a Gerrard St, Chinatown,
London W1D 5PS



4 comments on “Experimental Cocktail Club, Chinatown

  1. mellomallo says:

    I love to live vicariously through your posts!


    • I love that you do! And I’m currently wondering how we could find you a stockist in London!

      (PS: Possibly Plumtree Cafe in Greenwich, target audience are young parents and their toddlers, also stock many various snacks and sweets of small companies and home-made stuffs =D I could throw in a word!)


  2. […] of a venue might trump everything else about it. Feeling at home is what makes a bar what it is (Click to see Hospitality Rant HERE), and not living up to that ruins what you stand for. And it isn’t about being a reviewer; it’s […]


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