Experimental Cocktail Club
Perhaps the most daring experiment possible in the London cocktail scene these days is to hang back a little, hold off on gimmicks and return to what cocktail bars used to be – sophisticated. Experimental Cocktail Club has been something of a yardstick against which to measure every new bar and cocktail popup in London, and for good reason. Without resorting to cheap tricks and throwing together just any old ingredients for a laugh, ECC does its own cool, calm blend of elegance in a way that feels more revolutionary as the evening wears on.
First off, the venue is in Chinatown and fashionably hidden from the street by a red door and pretty much nothing else. Inside you won’t find any gimmicky homage to New York speakeasy style. No, this place is earnestly chic and decorated with modern, classy touches for those grown ups who are satisfied enough with a well made drink in a beautiful atmosphere.
The management are French and have managed to cultivate just the right level of nonchalant arrogance. Booking isn’t 100% necessary, but don’t pitch up in casual clothes looking for a beer. Inside, the venue sprawls a relaxed two storeys and the wait staff are not intrusive. There’s a doorman guarding the front entrance and sexy, dim lighting and music at background volume levels.
Onto the cocktails: the menu is long but curiously restrained. Expect £10 to £15 for a cocktail but some of the more elite options can cost as much as £200. The Havana is made with marsala wine, cigar infused bourbon and Bruichladdich Octomore single malt wash, and proves that the best cocktails are not about a long list of unfathomable ingredients. Other blends include artful use of gin from the 1950s, absinthe inspired mixes, botanicals, fresh leaves and fruits, rum and chartreuse.
Check out Experimental Cocktail Club here
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