Wednesday, 21 November 2012

Cellar Door

Trying to get women to accompany you into a public toilet? We all know that game. With this bar they might actually enjoy it.

It’s a cocktail bar. In a public toilet. The drinks make me think there may still be some good in the world. If you need to read more you haven’t understood this blog.

We’re not going to pretend that this is a hidden gem that only the people who were starting to hit Clapton while we all thought Camden was cool can find. Even Timeout have heard of it. Then again, you’re standing on Aldwych, the Waldorf is expensive and packed to the rafters with underwhelming salads, and your options for cool, edgy or otherwise not rubbish are as few and far between as women in my bedroom. That’s where this bar finds its niche.

Down some stairs into a disused public toilet, you feel like you could be heading into Lewis Carroll’s Wonderland if Through the Looking Glass was written by George Michael. Seriously though, you will rarely feel as cool as you do, seeing the crowds of theatre-land stare at the entrance with an apprehensive curiosity akin to the first time you heard house music, as you stroll down the steps with the confidence of Adele at the Brit Awards.

As a man whose taste in drink is generally confined to warm, flat lager I’m not well placed to tell you about mixology and other cocktail witchcraft, however, I can assure you that these drinks are pretty damn good. I’ll take a Kronenbourg over a Csomopolitan any day of the week but anyone who buys me one of these is welcome to my hand in marriage (or at least a short and disappointing relationship). This bar makes the horror of absinthe seem like William Shakespeare’s summer’s day: lovely and temperate. And they have popcorn.

The cocktail list is extensive and, unlike almost all other cocktail lists, not one of them sounds weird and horrible. There’s a reason why ‘classic’ cocktails get the luxury of being prefaced with ‘classic’; they’re very tasty. As a great philosopher once said: “if it ain’t broke don’t mess about with newfangled rubbish”. The cocktail wizard at Cellar Door has taken this advice to heart and the bulk of the menu sticks to old favourites. Divided by alcohol group you can choose whether you want paint stripper or sweet ambrosia in your cocktail. Disclaimer: by paint stripper I do mean a really nice gin as opposed to an even nicer gin. 

For those of you who, like me, will try something new for the sake of having tried something new, irrespective of the merits or consequences, the house cocktails and seasonal specials are delicious enough that you’ll go to sleep content even if you don’t end up making the world better with whichever date you’ve persuaded to accompany you that night. You alcoholic adventurers might also consider the options of replacing the vermouth in you martini with whisky or even absinthe. All in all the menu offers you a range of tipples which you’ll want to drink rather than drinking because you think it makes you look cool. Disclaimer: they will also make you look cool.

Experienced cocktail drinkers will understand the difference between a Southside and a Mojito. They’re both minty and limey and topped up with soda. Expecting to be underwhelmed I ordered a ‘Southside Royale’. Having experienced the crushing disappointment of the realisation that Burger King’s Chicken Royale is actually just a chicken burger, I was expecting nothing more than some limey, minty soda water with a hint of anti-freeze.

Cometh the hour cometh the drink. A waitress wearing angel wings places my cocktail on the table. A few pints deep, taste buds numbed by nicotine, I’m expecting nothing. I take a sip because it’s there and it has booze in it and I’m worried that I might sober up. But what’s that? Surely not. Are they wantonly flaunting the line between genius and the kind of idiocy that only people like me can normally achieve? They are. Dear reader, they have replaced the soda with Champagne.

I’m going to repeat: this bar is not only in a public toilet but they substitute soda water for champagne. If you need to read more you really haven’t understood this blog.

Cellar Door,
Zero Aldwych,

020 7240 8848


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