Satan’s Whiskers, Bethnal Green
Walk past this bar three or four times , cursing the date you don’t yet know, scanning door numbers while wondering who on earth would pick the Cambridge Heath Road for an old fashioned wooing. But you trawled twitter in advance, read a lot about the good and stiff drinks and were finally sold by the mention of an old school hip hop playlist. Satan’s Whiskers, I’ll bite.
Finally you spy it, near a laundrette and some other uninspiring store fronts, and step into a candlelit, warming, old school joint. You prop up the bar as you wait and then station yourself at a wooden table small enough to feel intimate even when seated interview style. When things get real cosy later, you can do a simple crawl around to share the bench.
From the hype and Satan’s coy digital footprint (no actual website, just some social pages) you expected something a little more up its own pouring spout. However, on a Tuesday night, there are a respectable number of friendly punters, a cheerful vibe and some awesome tunes that creep imperceptibly up in volume as the lights get dimmer, and you get drunker.
The cocktail list changes daily but a good rule of thumb is to start with long drinks (El Diablo, Harvey Wallbanger) and move to short and efficient spirits later. Wind down with a potent Satan’s Manhattan – pure bourbon, vermouth and bitters. If you want to stretch things out after three rounds, simmer down with a Brooklyn beer or a cool Sierra Nevada.
You prop up the bar to wait for the inevitably late companion and banter with very friendly staff. You text her and ask what she’s drinking – she asks for a Skinny Bitch (lots of vodka, lots of lime) – and you prop up the bar with a potent El Diablo (tequila, ginger syrup, lime, cassis and ginger ale). By the time she’s arrived you’re basically done so order another one quickly. You move from the bar to a table and get chatting. She’s drunk after one and you move onto your third. You chat shop, plan your week and relax into it fairly quickly. You stay longer than you should mid-week, check yourself before you wreck yourself and note to self that next time you’ll come on a weekend. Leave after two hours, walk to the station, say a formal goodbye and get something to eat on the way home. Long game.
Bad influence mid-week. Crappy road.
Solid 5 on a Friday (them drinks be strong), a little less earlier in the week.