Cocktails are taken seriously here. There are faithfully recreated classics alongside new mixes, including the award-winning Ale of Two Cities, created by bar manager Sean Ware. It's served in a half pint jar and looks just like ale but actually tastes like a wild forest tonic: an inspired mix of 42 Below vodka, Punt e Mes, angostura bitters, apple, lime, wild nettle cordial and malt syrup. Exactly the sort of drink that you might be surprised with in Narnia. (You have to step through Narnian wardrobe doors to get to the lounge, nice touch!)
These were wonderfully tasty Mai Tais, made as closely as possible to the original 1947 Trader Vic recipe. (El Dorado 12 year old rum, Wray & Nephew rum, orange curaçao, a dash of rock candy syrup and a dollop of French orgeat. Seriously tasty.)
I also enjoyed an All That Jazz, a mix of jasmine infused vodka, yellow chartreuse, lemon sugar and prosecco. Really subtle flavours and so refreshing. The individual food plates were perfect; generous enough to keep the tummy rumbles at bay and nibbly enough to munch whilst chatting.
The bar staff chatted away to the regulars at the bar whilst shaking it like a polaroid picture. Check the technique.
The ambience and decor of the place was perfectly quirky and cosy, it reminded me of the kind of the bar you find in Berlin, decked out with vintage pieces and lots of candles, but more lavishly done. The music was great, with the bar manager putting on his favourite tunes in between mixing cocktails and tending to his customers with great care. Even the loos were a talking point, the walls completely lined with old mixtapes set in resin.
With so much to see, try and talk about, Callooh Callay would be perfect for a first date or just a cosy catch-up with friends. HPL and I felt quite at home, the last to leave having blown out our dinner plans in favour of staying in our cosy corner. I'll be seeing you again soon, that's for sure Callooh Callay!
Address: 65 Rivington Street, London, EC2A 3AY
Telephone: 020 7739 4781