The London Cocktail Club, Fitzrovia
Don’t be mistaken into thinking that The London Cocktail Club is like every dimly lit basement cocktail bar around. A stone’s throw from the brooding Crazy Bear and the slick Shochu lounge, this cocktail den is a bit of a lary dive. And I mean that in the best way possible. You enter the room to immediate beckonings from the bartender to join the fray. Drinks napkins and free popcorn are smacked down and you pull up a bar stool. The lights are consistently dimmed as the night goes on and the cheesey music piped up. As the barmen shout over to you for next orders, bizarrely dancing/singing their way around the joint, you either get into the messiness of it all or get a bit peeved. But for the fun factor, it’s all the way up there. I’m sure once you’re three or four cocktails in, it’s not hard to get a couple of free shots and a history of the cocktail (despite initial appearances, they take their craft rather seriously).
Ask for red wine and you’ll barely register on their radar. Opt for a cocktail and you practically get a congratulatory hi-five accompanied by a ‘great choice’. What’s helpful is that they kindly cajole you into next orders; you’ll never have to embarrass yourself in front of your date by trying to get their attention. It’s much better to sit up at the bar than bother reserving a table. The popcorn is a nice touch, and adds to the building atmosphere of frat party. Cocktail-wise, they have all the classics, plus some creatively presented offerings in various receptacles, like jam jars topped with canvas lids and fruit mountains. For a more unusual drink, try the Filthy Mare, olive brine, gin, rosemary mist, thyme and basil- peculiar but glorious.
I’m afraid it’s a rather straightforward one here: drink, drink, drink. You need to show your fun side and should demonstrate this by verbally sparring with the bartenders, laughing and jigging along to the bad music and ordering a selection of stupidly named cocktails when all you really want is a beer/wine/vodka. You will have skipped dinner, so the popcorn will only take you so far in preventing the inevitable drunkenness. Get there after work and stay till it closes. 3 hours in, use the excuse for fresh air to get your date upstairs for a slovenly snog. Then retreat back into the depths of the bar and drink on.
Classy it is not, and the barmen can start to grate. Think Coyote Ugly, minus the scantily clad women.
5, but don’t expect it to be any good.