T.T. Liquor, Shoreditch

Type of Bar: Basement, Speakeasy, Cocktail School
Damage£ – ££
Ideal for: After Work, Date, Small Groups, Tasting, Shop

The sudden appearance of TT Liquor is a welcome gift from some of the folk behind Umbrella Brewing of the amazing Discount Suit Co. and Sun Tavern!

Only a couple of hours after the sign was put up, the Hoodooist found himself amazed by the venue from the street – aged wood and metal clasps in the ground floor guard some of the fantastic products that can be surprisingly hard to acquire, like the 5% ginger beer by Umbrella Brewing that is the talk of the town.

Umbrella Brewing TT Liquor London cocktail bar

Mind, there are three floors to this venue, behind the store and upstairs are cocktail classrooms that make up what is essentially a cocktail school – this is literally my Hogwarts.

Downstairs, though, that’s where we find the bar and the ex-prison cells that make up the vaults where gin, rum, and whiskey tastings are held, including Cocktail Journeys, where several cocktails inspired by the various eras of cocktail culture are enjoyed as a flight. The cosy, candle lit surrounds are excellent for huddling over cocktails and small dishes served up at the venue.

Umbrella Brewing TT Liquor London cocktail bar

The menu is divided into eras, and are all wonderful takes on cocktails of their time. If you were to level a criticism against it, it would simply be that it seems to be a tiny bit gin heavy at times.

That’s not to say those that those cocktails that are there are not satisfying. They are gorgeous – the tequila Rosetta is one such beautiful cocktail.

Umbrella Brewing TT Liquor London cocktail bar

Blending Arette Silver tequila, Briotte Rose, lime juice, rose water and syrup, the Rosetta’s nose is distinctly Arette. Upon first sip, it is tequila heavy – so agave fans will be most pleased. If the sound of rose is intimidating, there is nothing to worry about here, as the rose is quite subtle and soft, wisping in at the end, and lightened by the lime citrus.

Next, the Dorian, in keeping with one of Umbrella’s favourite whiskeys, mixes Redbreast 12 yr with hazelnut syrup and the Fee Brothers Aztec chocolate bitters. A little bit on the sweet side and one note for myself, it is best to ask for a slightly less sweet take on this when ordering. Unless, of course, you’re really in the mood for bittersweet chocolate hazelnut!

Umbrella Brewing TT Liquor London cocktail bar

The Dorian

Next, the Sexy Kung Fu Fighter really goes for it – Jinzu gin meets kumquat, fresh bergamot juice, kaffir lime and shiso leaves, Belsazar white vermouth and syrup. A little heavy on the bergamot, a bright, lively and effervescent cocktail with hints of kaffir lime and cherry blossom from the Jinzu. An exciting and enjoyable drink.

Umbrella Brewing TT Liquor London cocktail bar

The Sexy Kung Fu Fighter

Le Chat Noir is dangerous. Hayman’s Old Tom gin, Lillet Blanc, Henry Bardouin pastis, fresh lime juice, syrup and tarragon will deceive you, and vanish in the space of seconds. A long drink that is easy to down, you will have to consciously nurse this one early on, so they don’t get thrown back late in the evening.

Reminiscent of a (much) lighter take on a Corpse Reviver No.2, Le Chat Noir manages to channel the herbal tarragon and pastis incredibly well, for a light cocktail that does not hold itself from packing a punch in the long run.

Umbrella Brewing TT Liquor London cocktail bar

Le Chat Noir

And then there is the signature.

Doing the rounds since about London Cocktail Week 2016, the home made Umbrella Brewing Ginger Beer packs a punch at 5%, with gorgeous effervescence and spice. A candied and ginger nose is followed by a palate that is uncompromisingly spicy, with hints of malty molasses sweetness, and citrus.


Umbrella Brewing TT Liquor London cocktail bar

Honestly, it was great to see cocktails go back to simpler combos and try not to outdo themselves.

The only cocktail here I can say I did not take to was the Dead Ringer. Woodford Reserve, Toussaint coffee liqueur and Bob’s Peppermint bitters formed something not particularly enjoyable. But when held up to the beautiful cocktails above, who’s to care?

Do the right thing – go to TT Liquor. Get a class. Buy a bottle. Support your fabulous new local.

Drinks: ****
Atmosphere: ****
Service: ****

T. T. Liquor

17b Kingsland Road,
London E2 8AA



The Gibson, Clerkenwell

Type of Bar: Tiny, Experimental
Damage: ££ – £££
Ideal for: DateAfter Work

After being open for a while, The Gibson, known for it’s complex and imaginative menu highlighted by the simple classic that is its namesake, went for a small menu rehaul.

The new cocktails are similarly complex, boasting nearly a dozen ingredients at some points, taking risks with flavour profiles.

A first glance at the menu did make the Hoodooist a bit cautious, I am bit of a traditionalist with warning that drinks going past 5 ingredients were at risk for getting lost, but that won’t stop me from trying out new cocktails.

A tiny, intimate venue, with dim light and close range seating, the Gibson has gone for a powerfully apothecary atmosphere, reflecting its equally strange and varied menu, including everything from oregano flowers to the infusion of forest bees.

whisky cocktail the gibson bar london

The Garden of the Sun King

Beginning with a cocktail very much up the Hoodooist’s street, the Garden of the Sun King mixes Ailsa Bay whisky, infusion of forest bees, 3 La Quintinye Royal vermouths, lemon balm and leaf extract aged aquavit, maple ice wine tea and white port tincture, garnished with floregano, roasted pepper jacket and black olive.

Get the gist? Yeah.

The nose is undoubtedly full of red pepper, smokey and almost beefy. First sip is full of the tarry, smokey, liquorice of Ailsa Bay, followed by a light honey from the bee infusion. A lightness follows, from the lemon balm, then the white port. If you choose to dunk the red pepper in, a spice trails at the end. You want to finish this drink quickly – over time the sweetness begins to dominate the bottom half of the drink

whiskey cocktail the gibson bar london

Beyond the Pines

Next up, the Beyond the Pines. Loving pine flavours, this had to be tried. Monkey Shoulder whiskey and pine resin infusion, mixed with Kamm & Sons ginseng liqueur, lemon, ‘pine-apple’, elderflower juice, smoked juniper and rosemary honey, hot gooseberry chutney, ginger beer, wasabi, and matcha.

Thanks to the pine and flaming pinecone garnish, the nose is powerfully forest-y. In the best way. Palate starts with pine, smoked rosemary and juniper. There is a light effervescence to it, immediately followed by ginger and matcha, with a length of wasabi.

This was easily my favourite drink of the evening. Distinguishable flavours, cool and refreshing.

genever cocktail the gibson bar london

Winter in Neverland

Finally, the Winter in Wonderland was a great example as to why a dozen ingredients can be majorly problematic.

Cacao shell soaked Bols Genever, Mulled spiced cordial vintage cider, apple and pear conserve, lemon, 7 y.o. mandarin bitter, white snow waffle topped with raspberry and chocolate, cedarwood ice.

A cold drink the nose was spiced and citrus-y. But the drink was orange throughout, with the variety of flavours drowned out.

The stroopwaffel was ace, though.

cocktail the gibson bar london

Angel Tears

There is a food menu, with an exquisite beef tartare – love. Service is fab, however preparing these complex cocktails takes a while, so do be prepared. On the note of fab service, it has to be, as I found myself asking for flavour profiles being far more useful than reading the variety of ingredients. This can be difficult when working with a menu that is one of the longest I’ve seen in recent history.

The Gibson is a great bar for those who want to take risks and have the money to spend, there are certainly some gems like the Beyond the Pines here. I know I had a good night – but you do have to take risks and keep what you get. With the great staff, you shouldn’t have too much of a problem getting the flavour profiles down and chatting about what you enjoy.

And push comes to shove, order the Gibson Martini.

Drinks: ***
Atmosphere: ****
Service: ****

The Gibson

44 Old St,
London EC1V 9AQ.

Aqua Nueva & Spirit, Oxford Circus

Type of Bar: Bar/Restaurant, Spanish, Japanese
Ideal for: FoodDate, Small Groups, After Work


As crowded as Argyll Street is, it is easy to miss some of the signs around you – including the doorway that leads up to the 5th floor, where three of Aqua’s dining experiences are hidden away.

The opulently decorated Aqua series begins with the shimmering mirrored surfaces of the Aqua Spirit bar, before opening up to the Nueva restaurant, heralded by the charging Pamplona bull – an awful lot of spectacle, so the Hoodooist was curious to see if there was substance behind the glitz.


Aqua Kyoto Nueva London cocktails

The Smoke Over Spain


Once seated at our table, looking out the balcony to the Central London skyline, and over the bar of Nueva, we are served with the London Cocktail Week offering of the Smoke Over Spain.

I’m already sold with this. Tanqueray gin, orgeat, sherry, wild strawberry liqueur, fresh lemon juice and served with a paprika foam, a gorgeous balancing act of sweet without being sickly, citrus without being overpowering, and smoky for a burst of flavour. You begin with the smoky paprika foam that teases the tastebuds before a wash of fruit and nutty sweetness of the orgeat, giving way to the powerful strawberry flavour that dominates the drink, leading to a dry finish from the sherry.

This is a cocktail you will remember, even for the Hoodooist who notoriously avoids sweet or fruit dominated cocktails. I do wish this will find its way onto the cocktail menu year round, to firmly place Aqua on the map for cocktail ingenuity.

We enjoy snacks of Manzanilla olives, chickpea croquettes, and Iberian meats before being served padron peppers fried with olive oil and dusted with sea salt that the Hoodooist absolutely adores. The addition of sea salt does stand out from many servings of padron peppers, and the Hoodooist doubts he can have it any other way now! A pile of green pepper heads on his plate, we are served another cocktail.



Aqua Spirit Kyoto Nueva London cocktails

Salmon and avocado maki with salmon ‘pearls’


Aqua Spirit‘s offering of the Japanese Citrus initially does not go down well – until it dilutes. Then we find a wonderfully refreshing drink. The melting ice dilutes the pungency of the powerful yuzu sake, which is mixed with Ketel One vodka, fresh lemon juice, ginger syrup, Angostura bitters and topped with soda water. Once you’ve waited a few minutes, the yuzu citrus provides a wonderful backdrop for the ginger to sizzle.

This was paired with salmon and avocado maki, topped with salmon roe. Clearly freshly cut and succulent salmon made this sushi worth travelling for, exciting seasoned residents of Japan at our table. Soon, chicken wings stuffed with coriander and miso are served, as well as crisp prawn tempura with garlic chilli sauce.




Finally, melt-in-your-mouth oxtail topped with avocado creme is paired with a glass of champagne, before the finale of a shot of Espresso Martini as a digestif to polish off a wonderful evening.

Staff at the Aqua Nueva & Spirit are faultless: polite, swift, and conversational. I do prize service above everything else at a bar, and the Aqua series certainly score here.


Overall, the glitz is not just for show. Cocktails are engineered to be paired with food, so do not attempt to be enormously complex or demanding – but when they do, we find stars like the Smoke Over Spain. The Japanese Citrus is also a great example at how cocktails meant to be paired can be enjoyable even on their own.The atmosphere is perfect for a celebratory dinner, after work drink on the balcony, and particularly for meetings. You can’t go wrong for why you’re here, really.

Sure, it’s a steep price, which is expected – but all things considered, the Aqua Nueva and Spirit are venues a visit to London should not do without.


Drinks: ***-****
Atmosphere: *****
Service: *****


Aqua Nueva & Spirit,

240 Regent St, Oxford Circus
London W1B 3BR


Bird of Smithfield, Clerkenwell

Type of Bar: Bar/Restaurant, Also optional Basement
Ideal for: FoodDate, Small Groups, Large GroupsAfter Work


Here on Highball Hoodoo we had already reviewed this summer’s Aperol Spritz Terrazza open on the roof terrace of Bird of Smithfield – but it hides so much more.

A comfy restaurant and bar on the ground floor, with the private-bookings Birdcage in the basement serve up some cocktails that rival the best of Clerkenwell.

The ground floor bar is perfect for the day time – bright eggshells and greys with scattered kitsch and 70s throwbacks make a great space for an afternoon hang out or meeting. The Birdcage downstairs, though, takes the lighting down a notch for a sexy charcoal and cerulean, lit by mirrors and illuminated trees and birdcages.

Bartenders are wonderful, service is swift, and servers are more than happy to discuss the cocktail with you.

Bird of Smithfield London Cocktail bar

The new cocktail menu launched earlier this year appeals to a variety of palates and flavours, and does not shy from a little bit of experimentation.

Beginning with the Cointreauversial: Cointreau, Remy Martin VSOP cognac, apricot brandy, lime, Angostura bitters. The first wash is the rich and floral cognac, with strong notes of apricot and nectarine, violet and vanilla, giving way to the Cointreau’s orange and a stronger citrus, finally becoming quite tart.

A great option for those enjoying citrus and floral flavours, but want something a bit rich and not served long or with ice.

Bird of Smithfield London Cocktail bar

The Mr. Pacifico – I do love this cocktail: Mezcal, Pisco, blackberry and blueberry shrub, cardamom bitters, chilli vermouth, and Fernet Branca. Pisco ain’t easy to use in a cocktail – but this smoky/spicy tipple is just what you need when you want a bit of bite with your fruity sour/sweet.

Bird of Smithfield London Cocktail bar

The Lucky One is another that defies convention. Tincup Whiskey, Flaming Pig liqueur, Negra Modelo ale syrup, ginger bitters, lemon, Angostura bitters, egg white. The ale syrup really mellows out the other powerful flavours we see here: the cinnamon sweetness of the Flaming Pig, the butterscotch and high rye spice of the Tincup and ginger bitters. So what we get is an easy to down, grain-strong spicy tankard. Love it.


The Lucky One

The LDN: BOLD London Cherry Spirit, Aperol, Cynar, orange & mandarin bitters, rhubarb bitters. BOLD does it again! Aperol dominates, but enjoys complexity added by the bittersweet Cynar and the sweetness of BOLD cherry. The citrus bitters are more noted here, adding an almost sparkling flicker in the cocktail.

Aperol Spritzes are well and good, but the LDN does not compromise on ABV and celebrates Aperol in way only London could.

Bird of Smithfield London Cocktail bar


The Lord of Isles is another favourite here: Botanist gin, rhubarb and thyme syrup, Cynar, Kummel, and lime. Served for two, smoking inside a treasure chest, the box is opened to unveil two small cocktails in tiki glasses.

Not a sweet cocktail, but bright and herbal, with added depth from the Cynar. You’d almost forget it was gin. Warm and citrus with spice from the Botanist leads to the Kummel’s light aniseed flavour, but not compromising on it’s coating mouthfeel – finally enjoying a bit of sweetness from the rhubarb and thyme and then settling on the depth of Cynar, with a Kummel finish.

An enigmatic and adventurous cocktail. Loved around the table.


Not Just a Dram: Bruichladdich whisky, Lapsang souchong tea, lime juice, yellow chartreuse, sage leaves, plum and cardamom bitters.

I was hoping this would be a short, smoky cocktail – however the Not Just a Dram is served similar to a Julep, tall and filled with crushed ice.

I’d really like to return to try this straight up in a coupe, to really enjoy the whisky and tea. The brightness of the Bruichladdich is meant to be contrasted against the smoky lapsang, but I couldn’t get much with the ice here. Tasted a wee bit watered down, I’m afraid. Considering I absolutely *love* the sound of these ingredients together!

Definitely returning for this.

Bird of Smithfield London Cocktail bar

The Not Just A Dram

The Kenko Cha goes East by adding pineapple-infused Tanqueray gin to Canton ginger liqueur, Matcha, grapefruit, lime, sugar and egg white.

This was one cocktail I didn’t quite take to, but to be fair, I do have a slight aversion to strong pineapple flavours. And man was it strong here. I couldn’t help but feel it drowned out the others, and so missed the potential.

Bird of Smithfield London Cocktail bar

All in all: I love this bar. Wonderful service coupled with a large variety of cocktail flavours and various levels from the basement to terrace for different events make this bar a winner. Bird of Smithfield is a must when in Clerkenwell.

Drinks: ****
Atmosphere: ***-****
Service: ****

Bird of Smithfield

26 Smithfield St, Clerkenwell
London EC1A 9LB


W. M. Barker & Co., Bishopsgate

Type of BarBasement
Ideal for: Date, Small Groups, Large GroupsAfter Work


Notorious for either its history or its name, the popular Dirty Dicks a stone’s throw from Liverpool Street Station has transformed its basement into an all new, all day cocktail bar and cafe.

Serving up toasties, coffee, craft beers and cocktails makes this a great ‘pop in anytime’ kinda spot, which is perfect for the City surroundings. Besides great coffee and bites, the cocktail menu takes a daring step with all the drinks being shrub-based. Shrubs, normally served as acidic aperitifs, can be sweetened dramatically depending on the infusion, and on the other ingredients in the cocktail.

WM Barker Dirty Dicks Bishopsgate City Cocktail bar

WM Barker & Co., goes for the sweeter. In fact, the whole cocktail list is made with primarily sweet drinks. Each cocktail is named after nearby area, marking the bar as the boundary between City and Shoreditch, attempting to appeal to both markets.

WM Barker Dirty Dicks Bishopsgate City Cocktail bar Poitin


Beginning with the Bank #TheBanker, we find a unique combo of Absolut vodka, Sherry vinegar, Ban Poitin, champagne syrup, milk, cream, raisin bitters. Now this is bizarre – served in a milk bottle, the first sip is a massive wallop of a hundred flavours at once, till you go in for a second.

Sweet, yes, creamy, oh yes – this certainly is a dessert drink that begins with a pleasing sherry vinegar bite to cut through all the cream. After, it, literally, there is no other comparison: it’s liquid bread pudding.

Honestly, that is exactly it. It finishes off with a lingering champagne syrup.

For someone who normally does not go for sweet drinks, the Hoodooist was oddly charmed by this. Probably the most unique cocktail on the menu.

WM Barker Dirty Dicks Bishopsgate City Cocktail bar Rye Whiskey


To go in for something a bit more balanced after the Bank, we ordered the Bishopsgate #TheInvestor: Rittenhouse Rye, La Fee absinthe, peach, peach bitters, mint, sugar. Sounding much more classic Sazerac/Julep, the likes of something that would not be amiss at the Buffalo Bourbon Empire.

However, bitter it is not – I think this cocktail could do with stepping back on the sugar syrup, the bittersweet is followed by a caramelly thickness which one assumes is coming from a lot of sugar syrup. Absinthe aniseed slowly develops. I suppose I went in with a certain expectation of this drink, I’d like to see the spice of the rye playing more of a part.

WM Barker Dirty Dicks Bishopsgate City Cocktail bar gin


St. Pauls #ThePriest really stands out from the menu with its sour profile: Whitley Neill gin, Green Chartreuse, maraschino, cucumber, cucumber shrub, lime juice, sugar, cucumber ribbon and cornichon. It’s wonderfully heavy on the Chartreuse, which is unmissable as first. Wonderfully tart, the sweetness of the cucumber and maraschino do set in, and if you pay close attention, the unique botanicals of the Whitley Neill are present in the background. A nice change from the sweetness so far.

WM Barker Dirty Dicks Bishopsgate City Cocktail bar Vodka Gin

Foreground: #ThePriest, #TheTrader
Background: #ThePhotographer

Hoxton #ThePhotographer is, unfortunately, a drink I don’t see myself ordering again. Sipsmith Gin, Sipsmith Sloe Gin, apricot liqueur, pomegranate shrub, lime juice, shortbread crumble rim. Sound wonderful, but really, the shortbread rim is the best part. The overwhelming sugar content of the cocktail, though, is choking.

WM Barker Dirty Dicks Bishopsgate City Cocktail bar Bourbon whiskey

However, all is not lost: The delightful Craig behind the bar will knock out one of the best Maker’s Mark Old Fashioneds if you ask nicely. A great way to polish off the evening, and change from the Hoxton.

WM Barker Dirty Dicks Bishopsgate City Cocktail bar Halloween

Tarot XIII – #Death

Finally, with Halloween just around the corner, WM Barker will be releasing a Halloween special on the day!

The Tarot XIII – #Death, comes with all the dark sweetness you’d expect of the holiday: Muddled sour cherries, sour cherry shrub, sherry, Kahlua, Port, and Tia Maria, topped off with Schweppes. I will have to admit, this cocktail does have a lot going on in terms of depth, with all the layers of dry fruit from the sherry, the coffee from the Kahlua, et al. But the unmissable, striking flavour is the intensely sour-sweet sour cherries. It is distinctly Halloween, and probably also has the sugar content of a bag of trick-or-treating candy.

WM Barker Dirty Dicks Bishopsgate City Cocktail bar

WM Barker & Co. is certainly a spot one can see becoming packed with people through the week. Time spent sat at the bar is fun with the company of Craig and team, and more than enough space at a bar that is deceptively larger than it first seems. There is amazing talent behind the bar, and a more varied menu will really showcase their skill.

The only thing that makes this a difficult spot to grade for drinks is, though there is obvious thought going into the cocktails, they’re all on the sweet side, even the ones that lean away like the St. Pauls. Luckily, bartenders will make classics on request, but one feels it should be something that is addressed in the menu.

A fun night out, as long as you know what you are going for!


Drinks: ** (variety) – *** (quality)
Atmosphere: ****
Service: ****


W. M. Barker & Co.

Basement of Dirty Dicks,
202 Bishopsgate,
London, EC2M 4NR.


The Cocktail Trading Company, Smithfield

Type of Bar: Tiny, Basement, Quirky
Damage: ££
Ideal for: Date, After Work


The boys from CTC, Soho have done it again!

The Cocktail Trading Company Development Bar & Table (can we just call it CTC? Cool, okay), now a bustling hotspot in the heart of Soho, has branched out into cocktail-starved Smithfield, under the popular Ask For Janice on Long Lane.


The basement is tiny, if you’re lucky you might bag a couch (book in advance!) – and I recommend you find a good seat, because time can fly here! (Very) Dim-lit and cosy with a strongly Twin-Peaks-cabin-vibe, the playlist really makes the venue. Well, that and the incredible drinks and service provided by the Olly/Andy/Elliot trinity.

It’s probably worth mentioning that with 7 cocktail awards between them, it is difficult to go wrong with a good old classic here. About half the menu is classics, but the team will happily go off menu if you ask.

Cocktail Trading Company London Smithfield

The Brasso

The menu here will be the same as the CTC in Soho, so the Hoodooist decided to go for some uncharacteristically longer cocktails.

Beginning with the Brasso: Stoli Vodka, ginger and orange brew, lime juice and soda, is a light, bright, spicy long drink served with chocolate wafer and candied ginger. Perhaps spicy isn’t the right word, but spiced – the ginger doesn’t have a strong kick, but a fun pep in its step. Simplicity does well for this cocktail.

Cocktail Trading Company London Smithfield

The Daisy De Santiago

The Daisy De Santiago really exhibits the characteristics of Bacardi Heritage, with Lemon n Lime sherbet and Green Chartreuse. The tropical fruit and pepperiness cut through the cocktail quite easily, but immediately followed by a bombardment of citrus and the bitter herbal Green Chartreuse. It’s certainly a speciality cocktail with its intense sour and bitter flavours. Something very nostalgic here, something about 90s candy.

Cocktail Trading Company London Smithfield

The Sherry Cobbler

Twisting an old classic, the Sherry Cobbler adds spiced syrup to the mix of sherry/sugar/citrus, and garnishes with berries. The spiced syrup gives us warm winter spices, adding dimension to the otherwise primarily sweet and well-known classic. If you want to turn the sugariness up to 11, you can always go for the much more desserty Chocolate Flip #1, bringing together Bacardi 8 yr rum, cacao-infused Chartreuse, Tawny Port and pistachio ice cream. With a deeper, darker cacao flavour, this is an adult’s dessert cocktail, with the rum’s winter spice and lush mouthfeel, and the bitter hits of the Chartreuse over pistachio ice cream for that smoothness.

Cocktail Trading Company London Smithfield

The Chocolate Flip #1

With a very similar design, set up and cocktail list as it’s Soho sister, CTC Smithfield also keeps that distinctive attention to service that we loved about its predecessor. A welcome venue in the Smithfield area, and nice change from the after work boozers. I’d expect booking will be necessary.


Drinks: ***-****
Atmosphere: ****
Service: *****


The Cocktail Trading Company

Basement @ Ask for Janice, 50-52 Long Lane,
London, EC1A 9EJ.




Bourne & Hollingsworth Bar, Fitzrovia

Type of Bar: Basement, Speakeasy, Quirky, Vintage, Tiny
Ideal for: After Work, Nightcap, Small Groups, Date

When the B&H Bar opened a few years ago, a marked a then-change in cocktail culture and turned the tide toward a fascination with speakeasies, gin, and vintage-England. It was a tastemaker, and has developed into a brand name with its sister bars (Reverend JW Simpson: Click HERE for Review!, and the B&H Buildings, Review HERE!) and its vintage and chap themed events from the Blitz Party to Belle Epoque.

Bourne Hollingsworth London Cocktails

And for those years, this tiny, one-square-granny’s-living-room (complete with a distinct odour of damp) was a spot the Hoodooist would pop by for a last drink before heading home when in the area.

However, the new menu has taken a Spring turn in not *quite* the best direction. Said direction has been the elimination of many of the drinks that stood out, and resulting homogenisation of flavours and ingredients – the new menu now boasts a numerous (easily 25 or more) cocktails, that seem to blend into each other instead of standing with independent personalities, and taste too similar to each other (whereas Rev JW Simpson did the opposite and developed a greater variety of flavours than before, the B&H Buildings provide a greater variety as well).

The new menu has a tendency towards being incredibly sweet (so perfect if you enjoy sweet!), and an overbearing of berries and gin – so for the evening we tried our best to go for those that stood out.

Bourne Hollingsworth London Cocktails

L-R: The Madame Elisa’s Breakfast; The Honey Berry Bison

The then Cherry Sidecar has reverted to a slightly more classic Sidecar (Cognac, with marmalade instead of triple sec) in the Madame Elisa’s Breakfast – a drink that stood about a bit further from the others of the evening with the tartness of the marmalade – probably the most enjoyed of the evening in its simplicity.

The Honey Berry Bison goes for Zubrowka vodka and berries, shaken with lemon juice, acacia honey and egg white. Berries range from rasp- to black- and the cocktail itself has a distinctly cinnamon flavour after the first few sips – but it doesn’t take away from the intense sweet berries of the cocktail.

Tequila finally takes the stage in the Plum Plume: Reposado tequila shaken with lime juice, plum wine and bitters, topped with lemonade – but comes off without much flavour outside the plum wine and lemonade’s sweetness. But at least that went down better than the Black Jack – Bourbon with spiced honey whisky liqueur, seasonal fruits, mint infused sugar and lemon that was entirely too much to drink when it tastes like an iced glassful of watered down Jack Daniel’s Honey and berries.

Bourne Hollingsworth London Cocktails

Service is good, even on days when the room is crowded, you can trust that someone will be served. Often, there are free tables (especially weekdays) to walk-in, but for Saturday nights, a booking is recommended. Normally quite chilled out and relaxed, event nights can get very crowded – so do check in advance.

With other great bars like Rev JW and B&H Buildings in their roster, it won’t take long for a banging new menu to be on the cards, but for now, this spring/summer might have to wait.

Drinks: **
Atmosphere: ***
Service: ***


Bourne & Hollingsworth

Rathbone Place,
London W1T 1JF