A stylish neighbourhood bar where everyone knows your name (or you’ll want them to)
The Bar is the kind of bar that you’ll wish was around the corner from your house. It’s tucked away on a residential side street, with no sign to alert you to its presence – you just have to be in the know (or clock the clusters of smart locals drinking cocktails outside). By day, it’s a private hairdressers (sadly, it’s VIPs only), but by night the salon chairs are moved to the side and the tiny former garage transforms into a cool cocktail bar. And when we say tiny, we really mean it. There are only 18 seats up for grabs, so things get cosy; but the regulars know the drill and arrive early to nab a spot at the bar for a pre-dinner drink, some nibbles and a gossip. It’s been open for a year and already has a strong local fanbase, but because the space is so intimate even newbies will soon be familiar with their fellow drinkers.
They call it a wine and cocktail bar, and there’s a good selection of reasonably priced wines on offer – but the cocktails are what everyone’s here for. Opt for a safe classic or order off the changing seasonal menu for the chance to try some more unusual spirits and flavours. Right now, Margarita fans should head straight for the Ancient Plums, a smoky-salty, sweet and refreshing mezcal-based cocktail with Japanese liquor umeshu, orange blossom, lime and salted plum. If you like a sour drink, go for the sweet-and-sour Panache, made with with more mezcal, tepache (a fermented drink made from pineapple rind), sherry, lime agave, charred pineapple bitters and silky egg white. For something stronger, there’s Norse Port, a Scandi twist on a white Negroni with aquavit, white port and Suze liqueur, garnished with dill. The drinks are delicious, but be prepared to wait for them when it gets busy – there’s only one barman mixing himself silly.
There’s no space for a kitchen in here so they’ve kept the food offering simple with Spanish-inspired tapas with ingredients from Brindisa – meat and cheese platters, satisfyingly chunky green olives and black-truffle crisps. New dishes are being gradually added, including fresh creamy burrata served with garlicky pan con tomate and a Finnish-inspired skagen (prawns on toast).
A hole-in-the-wall cocktail bar for Hackney locals and anyone who wants to feel like one.
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