Hoxley and Porter, Islington

Hoxley and Porter, Islington
A rather boozy affair on Upper Street
Bling
Rating
Booze
Rating
Sex
Factor

The Vibe

There are three handy things about Hoxley and Porter that make it ideal for dating. One, it’s on Upper Street in Islington, a road where young singletons can be found perpetually toasting the week with a drink, spilling onto the streets to ‘smirt’ and conscientiously checking everyone out. Two, it’s a themed cocktail bar (sparkled up Victoriana) so novel enough to make the date memorable, in the absence of your own glitter. Three, you enter through a tunnel of well-lit mirrors so, if you hadn’t checked yourself out before you left work, now is the time for last minute adjustments.  As well as copious mirrors and 19th century touches, decadent armchairs, glass lampshades and exotic foliage, there’s a very long wooden bar that churns out extraordinarily strong cocktails. H&P has the personality of a Victorian explorer who has returned safely from Africa’s heart of darkness with booty and now decided to fill his home with it. The interiors are by Kai Design, the excellent team behind Opium and Powder Keg Diplomacy, so the train carriage touches, roughly textured wood, gilt edges, turquoise licks and leaded glass work really well, managing to be more tasteful than gimmicky.  But then a conductor offers to take you to your table and playtime in Upper Street is restored.

The Order

Although it serves decent food – cheese from Neal’s Yard, fine cuts of meat – let’s just focus on the drinks menu tonight. Like nearby House of Wolf, they’re reasonably experimental with their drinks list, down to the absinthe-coated edible scorpions accompanying their ‘whatever doesn’t kill you’ cocktail. Work your way through the list.

The Game

Upper Street dating follows a pretty simple formula. Buy all the rounds, drink way too much, stumble and fumble.

The Faults

It’ll be lairy on a Saturday night, 69 Colebrooke could be a more low key cocktail option.

Sex Factor

4. More sex, less romance.

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