In a city as huge as London, with so many eating and drinking venues to choose from, finding a bar that makes you feel relaxed, welcome, at home and comfortable is hard to say the least. Even in Angel, the area I live in and in my opinion one of the friendliest in the City, to find somewhere to relax and unwind has proven tricky.
The Bar With No Name is one of those “if you know, you know” sorts of places. Down a dim street just past Islington Green, it can be distinguished by a single outdoor lantern.
On Thursday night, my friend and I paid this illusive cocktail bar a visit. I arrived first, got comfortable ordered us a few drinks before receiving a very confused phone call – “Emily, I’m here but this place is closed down?!” – The first sign of a great speakeasy!
The venue consisted of one intimate, candlelit room. No frills, gimmicks, or ‘try hard’ elements to be found, just a buzzing room full of people all after one thing – great atmosphere and the cocktails to match.
Having previously ordered a few cocktails from the menu that had been explained to me by one of the five attentive waiters, these were awaiting my friend’s arrival.. and she looked somewhat concerned at what I had committed her tastebuds to.
First port of call – the Prairie Oyster. Taking its inspiration from the traditional hangover cure which includes a raw egg and hot sauce, this unique ‘down in one’ cocktail is made up from tomato yolk, horseradish vodka, oloroso sherry, shallots and pepper (don’t worry – no raw egg to be found!). The best way to describe it is sort of like a deconstructed Bloody Mary – definitely one to try for anyone paying this place a visit!
The show continued, and like magic the bubbly, colourful concoctions carried on landing in front of us. With options ranging from a ‘Toffee Apple Fizz’ to a ‘White Almond Bellini’, the menu was diverse, with something for everyone.
It was clear to see the care and development that had gone into each and every drink. Once one glass was finished, the mixologists took the time to discover our preferred tastes and flavours and talk us through the seasonal menu to help us settle on our next choice… and none left us disappointed.
The Bar With No Name led us into a false sense of security, almost having us forget that another day of 9-5’ing awaited us in the morning. With seating for no more than about 40 people, by 7pm all the tables were full and the cosy room was filled with the hum of chatted and the promising sound of a cocktail shaker.
We were looking for an exciting new spot where we could catch up over a few cocktails. No frills, no bass-thumping music, no assholes. Just somewhere to feel relaxed and at ease and giggle away our Thursday evening. And that is exactly what we did!
Another great hidden gem ticked off the list – thank you London, and thank you The Bar With No Name!