Posts Tagged With: Showpiece cocktails

Cocktails and shenanigans: Fun times at London Cocktail Club, Goodge Street edition

Copyright of The London Cocktail Club. Sourced from The London Cocktail Club website

Copyright of The London Cocktail Club. Sourced from The London Cocktail Club website

Cuisine: Cocktail bar

Address: 61 Goodge Street

Area: Fitzrovia

Nearest Station: Goodge Street

Tel.: W1T 1TL

Website: http://www.londoncocktailclub.co.uk/

Pricing: Medium

Good For: Showpiece cocktails, Good cocktails, Raucous night, Being friends with the bartenders, Hip hop dancing, Buzzing atmosphere

Being friends with some borderline alcoholics (ha! Joke lang – they’re really full-blown alkies and on their way to cirrhosis) does have its perks sometimes, such as being introduced to fun and exciting places like the London Cocktail Club on Goodge Street.

I can’t quite remember the first time I went there, but I do recall being quite intrigued as I’d heard positive things about the place – interesting cocktails, electric vibe, fun and mixed crowd etc. What I didn’t quite appreciate at the time is how off-the-walls crazy it can get: the last time I was there, the place erupted as it was the birthday of one of the bartender’s best friends – people were dancing on the bar, the guys behind the bar were doing shots, cocktails (and the bar) were being set aflame… the good times were in full flow.

Everyday they're shuffling - it's a mighty expensive habit, mind. Photo courtesy of a friend!

Everyday they’re shuffling. Photo courtesy of a friend!

So what is it that seems to create a fun atmosphere at the LCC? (The first thing I would say is that if I were to pack in my day job and become a bartender (or do they call them mixologists there?), I would like to work at LCC. Those guys look like they are having an absolutely smashing time, and it does make me feel just a wee bit jealous.

Why the jealousy? Well, change management consultancy most certainly does not involve any of the following: making wicked looking cocktails, looking awesome whilst doing so, partying at the same time and generally being the most popular people in the room. I mean, I could try it out tomorrow at work, but I’m not so sure the client would fully appreciate it (philistines).

What else makes LCC such an enticing concept? When my friends and I want to throw some wicked shapes on the dance floor that put everyone else to shame, I generally like to do it to some heavy hip hop stylings, and the guys at LCC seem to agree that playing Busta Rhymes, Jay-Z’s ’99 Problems’, early Snoop Dogg  and other hip hop classics is a guaranteed way of setting an atmosphere conducive for dancing pleasantries.

But let’s not forget the reason that LCC exists: it’s a cocktail bar and it makes cocktails. Funky cocktails. Intriguing cocktails. Flavourful cocktails. Smooth cocktails. A whole gamut of cocktails. And generally they’re quite good, thankfully. Otherwise, calling themselves the London Cocktail Club would be a bit of an unfortunate misnomer.

I’ve been trying to work my way through their gin section, as I think gin is what classy gentlemen drink (note: I do actually quite like gin), and because, as I’ve just found out whilst writing this review, the Goodge Street branch of the LCC is described as their Punk Gin Palace. So far, I have not had any misses and have quite enjoyed the crisp and refreshing tastes of their gin creations, such as their take on the Pegu Club. Alas, I’ve always been having far too much fun to take any snaps of the drinks, except for the lonely one below. That is a cocktail in that golden syrup can. And yes, there was golden syrup in there. It was a spiffingly scrummy dessert cocktail. Mmm.

Sweet nothings

Sweet nothings

Whilst I would wholeheartedly encourage you find that non-descript stairwell on Goodge Street leading down to this basement gem (and ask you to take me with you), I would have to say that there are a few caveats that you must accept if you want to really enjoy things:

  1. It can get quite busy in there and it is quite narrow and cosy, so this is not the place for people who fear personal space invaders
  2.  You can end up waiting some time at the bar trying to order your drinks – it helps to either be a friend of the bar or a very pretty girl who’s good at getting attention (thankfully my friends are both – I love you guys!!). I always tend to order two drinks at a time, but suggest that everyone else doesn’t so that I don’t have to wait so long the next time around
  3. If you don’t like bars where they pump out some loud tunes, this place is not for you
  4. The place closes at 12am (say what????)

So, bearing all that in mind – when are we next having a drink there?

VERDICT – A good place. I very much like the atmosphere, the crowd, the drinks and the music, and every time I’ve been we’ve always had a smashing time. And with a drinks menu that extensive, I’m sure that there will always be reason for us to keep on going back for more and more.

Currently listening to: Reuben – Parties Break Hearts

Categories: Cocktail Bar | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Find the Jade Door: Chilling out in Opium Cocktail & Dim Sum Parlour

Copyright of Opium. Sourced from Opium website

Copyright of Opium. Sourced from Opium website

Cuisine: Cocktail bar

Address: 15-16 Gerrard Street

Area: Chinatown

Nearest Station: Leicester Square/Piccadilly Circus

Tel.: 020 7734 7276

Website: http://opiumchinatown.com/

Pricing: High

Good For: Showpiece cocktails, Good cocktails, Friendly conversation, Place for romance, Chic night

“Am having a drink in an opium den”. Not the sort of thing that my mum was expecting when she texted me, asking me to call her regarding Easter Sunday plans the next day… but, well, it was the truth. Sort of.

My friend and I were feeling on a bit of a roll after having dined out in Flat Iron: the night was still young, there was still a lot to catch up on, we weren’t drunk yet… we needed a suitable venue in which to continue the evening’s pleasantries.

And so, upon her recommendation, we decided to check out Opium Cocktail & Dim Sum Parlour. It’s located up some stairs behind a plain jade door on Gerrard Street, right in the middle of Chinatown, so I’m sure the various tourists milling around were somewhat bemused to see us meet-and-greeted by the imposing bouncer, and then let into a secret and exclusive world of Chinoiserie and Orientalism.

As befitting a den of iniquity (the dim sum’s influence, obviously), the lighting was dim and moody, but the décor was cleanly presented and well-executed, giving a real ambience of fun Eastern ‘exotica’.

Sourced from Opium website. I felt too shy to take photos when I was there *blushes*

Sourced from Opium website. I felt too shy to take photos when I was there *blushes*

We had some seats by the bar in the Apothecary, facing the mystery bottles lined up along the back, distinguished by the Chinese numbers adorning them. Sitting at the bar afforded us great views of the show that the mixologists were putting on. So, what did we have to drink?

She had the Year of the Snakebite & Blackcurrant, which was rather sweet, masking the potency of the alcohol. With the lemon sorbet whisked in, there was a lovely smoothness to it. Alongside that, I had the Flying Firecracker, a refreshing and slightly tart concoction that came with complimentary gunpowder balls. “What do we do with these?” I asked, wondering whether we really were allowed to throw them around with reckless abandon. The barman proceeded to show us that, yes, we could just lob these around – his fellow barstaff, the waitresses, even some other customers, were victims to the little pop these balls made. Now if only it were a free flow service…

A witch's cauldron of cocktail goodness. Sourced from www.whattickles.com

A witch’s cauldron of cocktail goodness. No way my camera phone will take as good a photo as this. Sourced from whattickles.com

Later on, after having watched several being made and being extremely intrigued, I succumbed to the pressure and had the Opium Cocktail No. 2 as, well, my number two cocktail. This came in a little, smoking cauldron and was accompanied by a tiny bottle of ginseng which would act as a chaser. It was a fascinating sight to see it placed before me, and my friend and I ooh-ed and ahh-ed as we explored every aspect of it. Alas, they did not have guava jam at the time, but I was assured that the next time I came here, I could use it to offset the bitterness of the ginseng chaser.

Overall, it was good evening of convivial conversation and fun drinks in a rather relaxed and cool setting. We even got to try the crab and samphire dumplings (very tasty, slightly unusual because of the samphire, but you can get cheaper and just as good elsewhere), just so that we could say that we came to Opium and did BOTH cocktails and dim sum.

Cocktails and dim sum… it is a winning combination.

VERDICT – Highly recommended. As I was discussing with someone else recently, it is a bit hard to find a relaxed yet cool place where you can go for really good and interesting cocktails and not be drowned out by the loud music or other groups. The staff here were all really chatty and quite clearly enjoyed what they were doing. When you’ve got all those ingredients thrown into the mix, how can you not enjoy yourself?

Currently listening to: Coheed and Cambria – Key Entity Extraction III: Vic the Butcher

Categories: Chinese, Cocktail Bar | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment