More officially, “The Bar With No Name”, is another masterpiece by Tony Conigliaro of The Zetter Townhouse Cocktail Lounge (Click HERE for review!). Followers might know that I’m already a major fan of Tony C’s work, whose style is always original, without being over the top, usually short and intense, and always impressive. 69 itself isn’t ‘hidden away’ like The Zetter Townhouse, but is certainly out of the way, but you can’t miss the little lantern and wrought iron gateway that marks it.
Let’s get down to biz: the venue itself is miniscule, if not cramped. The crowd is nonetheless presentable and polite, even though you’re plastered next to them. The large opened windows help, certainly. The 1940s pour in through the speakers as incredibly attentive servers hover in the small space. Considering the quality of the drinks, I’m half tempted to give a bit of leeway here, but it certainly isn’t a venue one could spend too long in (besides that rotation for a table is 90 minutes).
On a positive note, though; drinks wowed. The Soy Cubano bursts onto the scene with its Soy Pedro Ximinez and Havana 7yr, intensely sweet, almost sickly, with vanilla and woody notes, before being tempered by the musky ambrette, giving way to the simmering Rooibos bitters in the background. Though incredibly intense, an excellent and (thankfully) short drink, which is almost reminiscent of NOLA’s Slightly Sinister (Click HERE for review!) on steroids. The drier cousin of this drink appears as the Port Habana, Havana 3 yr, White Port reduction and Grape Honey – the intensity of the grape honey on the nose is unmistakable, reflecting the honeyed flavours of the Havana 3yr. The white port reduction initially takes centre stage before the honey comes in full force and blindsides you, readying you for a distant wash of fruitiness.
The Aerial was certainly unique. The Hoodooist certainly struggled trying to get this one, short, incredibly so, yet the strongest of the lot. Perfumey, almost risking it to a fault, the distilled bergamot is the primary flavour and scent, tempered by the ambrette and dried lemon. The Aerial is one of those drinks that must be made absolutely perfectly, or else it falls apart. Risky, ludicrous, and wonderful.
Finally, the star of the night: the meeting of Bacchanology, gastronomy and hangover cures that was the Prairie Oyster. Before you get turned off by the name, the Prairie Oyster is essentially a deconstructed Bloody Mary of horseradish vodka, Oloroso cherry, shallots, pepper sauce compacted into a ‘tomato yolk’, dusted with celery salt and micro herbs. Served like an oyster, one downs the ‘shot’ which climaxes in an explosion of hangover curing flavour.
I swear that was not meant to sound as erotic as it did.
The drinks list being seasonal leaves much space for experimentation every month, which is fantastic since this is a venue I can see myself returning to time and time again.
The Bar With No Name
69 Colebrooke Row,
London N1 8AA