Embury U.K. envoy Will Foster contributes our first "Short List" feature, highly opinionated guides to only the most essential spots for a stranger in a strange town when one has limited time and ample thirst for a proper drink.
Shoreditch. A small “barrio” in East London that is fast becoming London’s most popular nightspot. I first opened my bar, Casita, there in 2006, and the area has since developed into what one only call Soho without the tourists. Whether the other bars were established before or after, the atmosphere of ease and good drinking has, without a doubt, firmly established itself over the past three years.
Callooh Callay, the latest addition to our area, has been instrumental
in attracting the drinkers over – with an incredibly well-experienced
team and a phenomenally great ambience, this bar mixes chilled-out
enjoyment of well-made drinks, with good banter and, above all,
fantastic scenery. The bar is made up of three different areas all
furnished with the most eclectic furniture one could possibly imagine.
Drinkswise, Rockin’ All Clover the World is a great twist on a twenties
classic, whilst, for the hardened drinker, the Old Kev is something not
to be missed.
Back up on Great Eastern St, one might (if you’re good at looking) find Lounge Bohemia. [Clever shot above is from the landing page of bar's website.]. Available on booking only, or on the owner/bartender’s whim (no – sorry – I have to call him a Mixologist, and not in a derogatory way), Lounge Bohemia gives a touch of necessary interest to our little village. The man inside (not giving out his name to retain the mystery) is an absolute legend. A teetotaller himself, he manages to make certain bourbon shots taste of smoked ham and puts fizz into grapes with dry ice by getting his friends to try his crazy experiments. I guess molecular mixology is the phrase and the place is unmissable, but is not for the chap who believes in classics. Still, you MUST go. Booking line is 07720 707 000.
Along the road, on Commercial St, you will find what is, quite possibly, London’s finest steak restaurant, the Hawksmoor. Bar manager, Pete Jeary (at left) is responsible for plying you with his passion – the old classics. His knowledge of drinks from the golden age of cocktails is unsurpassed, and the man is also incredibly skilled at making drinks his own. A must for anyone touring the East End.
After a 20 oz piece of fine British beef at the Hawksmoor, and a few of Mr. Jeary’s fine drinks (try his Corpse Reviver No. 2 by the way), one must pootle down to the Hoxton Hotel. Back on Great Eastern St, towards Old St roundabout, this great bar, recently taken over by the Soho House group, will treat you to some beautifully made cocktails, and, if you’re still hungry, will serve you great food until twelve. For boozing, they’re licensed until two am.
I guess that leaves my own little bar, Casita. Just behind the Hoxton Hotel, we specialise in Latin American Cocktails – Hemingway Daiquiris, Tommy’s Margaritas, and a few of our own little concoctions. [Ed note: verdita, verdita, verdita, see shots at right.]Clientele is mainly bar and booze trade, so it’s a good place to catch up on the gossip about London’s liquor industry. With a capacity of 40 people, we rely on bartenders and brand ambassadors bringing chums in on their nights off and giving us ideas for new drinks.
Please do come see us next time you’re in town.