Type of Bar: Creative, Party, 90s, Quirky
Ideal for: Afternoon Tea, Activities, Small Groups
Celebrating it’s 5th birthday, young entrepreneurs Kristie Bishop and Coralie Sleap have turned fun into a business venture – providing customers with everything from a quirky store to afternoon tea with cocktails and Lego and nipple-tassel craft classes, to a 90s themed basement club accompanied by classes to learn Beyonce dance moves (which let’s not pretend you haven’t practised at home already).
The site of the ex-Turkish-bathhouse, with its massive skylight and overhead discoball, houses two large bars (one above, one below) – serving up primarily spritzes and punches, has a primarily sweet menu. There is the occasional Negroni, though, so don’t panic yet!
The 5th Birthday party begins with a series of easy-serve drinks and bites – whilst building Lego robots, the Sun-blushed tomato, tapenade and sweet herb sandwich is competed with only by the Smoked salmon, cream cheese and chrain – and the dessert even better. Hazelnut chocolate brownie dense and flavourful.
The drinks were a hit or miss: the Duppy Rum Punch serves up Duppy Share Rum, fresh lime juice and gomme (which may have not been entirely necessary with the sweetness of the rum). It really relies on the inherent richness of the blended rum, and it’s powerful pineapple, mango and papaya flavours are tempered by the lemon.
The Happy was a bit of a stumble though, Evan Williams Bourbon meets elderflower and apple to make a confused intense hit of sour to the back of the jaw, followed by sticky, painful sweetness.
The Birthday was a major improvement: Belvedere Vodka, lychee, lemongrass, ginger, chilli and soda. A mix of savoury chilli kick followed by a length of sweet lychee.
Downstairs, the Wild Spritz: Elderflower, Perry and gin was thick, and tasted more like a glassful of sugar syrup.
Though the myriad of events and the food do outweigh the skill regarding cocktails, I can see myself returning for an afternoon tea with a friend, but not quite for the drinks. The lengthy list of sweet drinks is almost patronising, and could do with either increased variety, or with catching up with 2015, the apple, elderflower and lychee combos are rather old hat and very SW postcode Chelsea (which, let’s face it, is the last to join the party at anything).
There are some fantastic spirits behind the bar I’d love to see used more often – like a great collection of mezcals that are not on the cocktail menu. Take the Birthday, for example: Replace the lychee with hibiscus, and the vodka with mezcal, for a more modern and mature cocktail.
The staff are wonderful – upbeat, polite and conversational, and most of all – fun. And the obvious passion they display for their work is palpable, and is contagious. From the events upstairs to the parties below, they keep the crowd alive and excited for their work.
Drink Shop & Do is a beautiful space, run by brilliant creatives, and a wonderful place to learn new skills, or just let loose. To another 5 years of DSD!
Drinks: * (I recommend coming for the tea and food, though!)
Drink, Shop & Do
9 Caledonian Rd, King’s Cross,
London N1 9DX.