Friday April 19th - Team List (Natalie, Harriet, Sam, Libby and myself) assembled early last Friday at 16.30 in The Crown and Two Chairmen on Dean Street to plan our evening in Soho. It's a great pub for beer and a good place to start if you are heading out nearby. After a pint of Hoptimus Prime, some Sierra Nevadas and a Proper Job, we moved on.
Earlier in the day I received an email from The Nudge about the public opening of Social Eating House (set up by Pollen Street Social owner Jason Atherton). Most of the fuss was about the restaurant (which was already booked up) but I was more interested in their hidden upstairs bar. Look for the Opticians sign on Poland Street and go through the door with a blind pig on it. Natalie and I tried to pop in before the pub, but they informed us that they were not opening until 17.30 (they are normally open from 12am-12pm). We returned at 17.31.
We sat down at the bar in front of several barmen who I think we caught off guard. They confirmed that we were indeed the first ever paying customers! Feeling smug, we got down to business and worked our way through some of their cocktails. I started with the Thermo-Nuclear Daquiri (see picture below) as I couldn't resist a cocktail that listed 'glowing radiation' and 'danger' amongst its ingredients. They clearly love a good pun (Kindergarten Cup, Cereal Killer, Piscotheque, Robin Hood Quince of Thieves, Dill or No Dill etc) so they were distraught when Harriet failed to understand the reference and required pronunciation for 'Wi' Jam In'.
Other highlights included the Cereal Killer cocktail containing coco pops milk served in a milk carton shaped glass, and the Silver Screen which had a mini bucket of popcorn attached. We benefited from being at the bar as a couple of imperfect drinks for other customers were passed our way. We also had a good chat with the staff, who all seemed to hail from the North which went down especially well with fiercely Northern Natalie and Libby. We inquired about the piggy on the door and they explained that they had hoped to call the bar 'Blind Pig' (another term for a speakeasy) but had discovered slightly too late in the day that there was already a bar with the same name (which you can find in The Anthologist near Bank). Our bill was presented in a piggybank with tape over its eyes - my second pig-based bill after Opium presented theirs in an ornate piggybank. I would imagine that the bar will end up being known as Opticians to people in the know - a bit catchier than Social Eating House Bar.
We stayed for a couple of rounds as the banter with the mixologists was flowing. We had a sneaky peak at their sharing cocktails - Soho Chic (on the menu) is served in a bottle in a brown bag and comes with 4 glasses that are shaped like bent, disposable plastic ones - at one stage it was going to be called Soho Tramp. They were also not quite ready to serve one in a bathtub with glow in the dark ducks and edible bubble bath! We didn't order any of the bar food this time around, but I would guess that they rustle up some pretty tasty snacks in the restaurant downstairs. A random girl who had also received the email from The Nudge turned up and joined us at the bar for a while. She had a plate of something that she seemed to enjoy! Try and head over there before the whole world does.
|Piscotheque and Buck Stops Here|
We headed back outside where the sun was still shining, and wandered up the road to find Reason & Mankind, a new unmarked bar that has opened recently in connection with The Libertine Club (occupying the space left behind by Chinawhite). Look for the bouncer on Winsley Street and ask if you can head down to the bar. You can reserve a space, but it wasn't too busy when we want considering it was a Friday night. We again sat at the bar so that we could chat to our host and see the magic happen. I went for a ridiculous cocktail ('Top Hat and Tails') that appeared from inside a smoking hat, whilst Sam's Mezcal based cocktail was left for him to mix himself with a giant syringe. They are in the process of coming up with a new menu so I can't guarantee that the ones we had will be there, but I am certain that they will be exciting either way!
|Wait for it...|
Harriet takes the credit for our last stop, Ain't Nothin' But - an American blues bar on Kingly Street. There is apparently always a queue but it moves along fairly quickly. We queued for 15-20 mins which isn't too bad considering it was '1 in, 1 out'. Sam had disappeared with my friend Lee by this point (who turned up at The Sun and 13 Cantons) as he had a party to go to. Once inside we grabbed some drinks and headed towards the tiny stage. The band (bass, harmonica/vocals, percussion. guitar) was excellent and the audience was very appreciative. We eventually made our way to the very front and on to a table with fantastic sight lines to the band. It is open til 2.30 on Fridays and Saturdays and is a great alternative to going clubbing. We started to flag around 11pm since we started so early so we didn't stay til closing this time, but I can see it happening in the future!
Shoreditch Trip #5 Blog from Tuesday coming soon! I'm also off to Street Feast London hopefully tonight and possibly Midnight Apothecary on Saturday.