Powder Keg Diplomacy, Clapham
“It’s like a piss-up in a greenhouse”, said the articulate young man by my side. Powder Keg Diplomacy (PKD) is a rather styled bar – Colonial adventure meets Victorian interiors via a stop off in industrial Shoredtich. It looks good, don’t get me wrong, it’s just real busy. Adjust to the entrance and move to the dining area and WOAH, it’s like some sort of wild conservatory on the Continent. Yes it’s fruity and full of trinkets, but the lighting, the relaxed crowd, the charming staff and the well picked out clutter make for a great, and long, date. It’s the sort of place you’d expect to find in Islington (Hoxley and Porter) or Soho, all dolled up and theatrical. I salute PKD for getting up each morning and applying a full face of make-up and every piece of jewellery in the box just to wander down the road for a pint of milk. Good for you, you’re making a real example of your dowdy neighbours.
You can either stay up at the front, going down the cocktail route with the Colonial Cocktail (Tanquery gin, maraschino liqueur and grapefruit juice) or the tequila Bloody Mary (yum); or head to the conservatory for a traditional dinner: rabbit and ham hock terrine, followed by an oven-roasted trout with fennel and spring onions and a side of chips. It’s good but rich food, not the place for a light bite – a few courses and at least one bottle of wine.
I wouldn’t recommend looking elsewhere for a pre-drink, just get there already. A date will work well if you decide to make it a long one, moving from bar to restaurant to bar to bed. Start with strong cocktails, ordering the most adventurous ones on the menu, providing initial conversation and playful sip swapping. Don’t finish them – you regretted picking such weird concoctions – and head to the table for dinner.
With this sort of candlelight you’ll be on the red wine and hearty fare. If possible, grab one of their four person tables on a quiet night and sit next to each other with the room as your stage. As you get progressively drunk, you’ll knock elbows, kick feet and gaze at each other longingly. Be bold and give them an endearing cheek kiss after the mains. Then share a dessert and cheekily suggest a few more drinks back at the bar. Two turn to four and before you know it you’re activating your Uber app with plans to take them back to your shared flat in Brixton. Enter the house quietly and head straight for the bedroom.
PKD is probably the best thing about the area.
4. It’s not a ‘swing by’ sorta place. Commit to everything at PKD.