After writing about the closure of many LGBTQ venues in London, the Hoodooist was rather pleased to hear that the recently opened Light Lounge by award-winning Ku Bar was going strong and released a new line of cocktails for SS16 down in Chinatown!
Design-wise, the bar is going *very* lounge with dark walls, mirrors, dim lighting. Certainly comfortable, though a small space. Ambience is chilled out and relaxed as lounge music is played even on DJ nights.
However, I can’t help but feel that it feels ever so slightly dated, though not offensively so yet. Especially with the retro noughties chic (is it time we can call it retro yet?) blue lights/low couch combo making it a bit samey with many gay bars in Soho.
Marie provided swift, courteous service with Nikita and Peter behind the ba; watched over by portraits of Marlene and Bowie.
The menu focuses less on classics, and on sweeter cocktails – the Hoodooist went for something more his style.
A classic Boulevardier can’t stir you wrong. Bulleit bourbon, Campari, Martini Rosso sweet vermouth provide a Boulevardier that’s slightly on the sweeter side.
Still, a fairly decent classic – however, £10.50 is pretty darn steep for a Boulevardier. Especially with Bulleit and Martini Rosso.
Next on the list is the house original, the Catrina’s Kiss. Don Julio Blanco tequila, agave, lime juice, grapefruit juice, and a dash of Tabasco. A short twist on the Paloma, the Catrina’s Kiss is a balance of sweet from the agave and grapefruit, and sharp citrus from the tequila and lime.
Starting sharp and peppery, a silkiness and sweet sets in, ending with a kick of spice. Ordered on separate occasions, the amount of spice varied drastically, so probably best you specify how much Tabasco you’d like!
Finally, the truly bizarre Death Flip. Don Julio Blanco tequila, yellow Chartreuse, Jagermeister, one whole egg and a splash of salt water, garnished with a chocolate finger.
Reminding us that often, 5 powerfully flavoured ingredients is too many. Sure, it’s got the overall flavour of salted caramel (kinda), but make sense out of it, I couldn’t. Was it sweet? Or herbaceous? Or medicinal? Or citrus? The chocolate finger didn’t really add to the drink, either, and seemed completely unrelated.
One can’t simply help but feel that the bar would receive higher drinks ratings if the range and quality of the cocktails matched the prices on a say, 8.50 to the occasional 10 pound. But I imagine spaces like this in Chinatown don’t come cheap (just ask Leicester House).
The Light Lounge by Ku is heartening to see when much of queer and alternative culture is struggling in London, and I’m sure we are looking at a successful hang out spot right here. Hope to see more from Ku in more than just the West End where their four venues are concentrated.
All in all, the Light Lounge is a handy place to meet for an afternoon drink in the quieter hours, or even for a casual meeting with it’s relaxed ambience.
The Light Lounge
1 Newport Place, Chinatown
London, WC2H 7JR