Wednesday, 9 January 2013

Nightjar

Start Trouble’s magnum opus ‘Let’s Get Fucked Up’* pays tribute to the age which gave us Al Capone, the Canadian Whiskey trade, Boardwalk Empire and a plethora of London drinking venues in which the uncool likes of me and you can pretend to be cool. I am, of course, talking about the Prohibition. Where do you think you would have been in the Prohibition?

 If you see yourself as a bootlegger making your millions trickling grain whiskey into the parched mouths of the booze-starved masses of Atlantic City, you’re probably the sort of opportunistic, proactive industrious individual who would not be seen dead in a speakeasy. I also don’t want to be your friend. Alternatively, like me, you may be well aware that you would have embraced the desperation, spent every last penny you had on overpriced spirits in a poorly-lit New Orleans basement while listening to a suspect pianist who only sounded passable because you’re drunk. Now, if even though it’s 2013 not 1924, and you’re in London not New York, that still sounds like exactly what you want to do anyway, this bar is perfect for you.

While sitting in an empty pub in a council estate off York Way (yeah we get them wrong every so often so you don’t have to) the bartender told us that in his view Nightjar served the best cocktails in London. As my failing liver will attest, I place a lot of trust in bartenders’ judgement. On this occasion, my faith in a bar man’s advice led me, not to waking up in a skip for once, but rather to one of the best cocktail bars in the city.

I won’t go into too much detail about the cocktail composition itself, largely because I don’t know how to spell half of the ingredients, let alone know what they are. I wouldn’t want our dear readers to be under any misapprehension that I am in any way qualified to talk about drinks, bars or how to be cool. My advice: try them for yourself, you won’t regret it. As I repeatedly elucidated to our lucky dates re: the Leroy cocktail: "holy fuck, this drink tastes like a pudding". Seriously it tasted like a lemon mousse. And it gets you drunk.

One thing I do feel able to comment on with some authority is the presentation of the cocktails. Now I know that I’m a man who thinks fireworks are made by wizards and is still impressed by Art Attack, but I promise you that in spite of my own low threshold for amazement, these beverages are served with some panache. One drink came served with a flaming half coconut. The ‘Coalition’ cocktail was served in a pewter hip flask sitting on a bed of ice, trimmed with a few blades of corn in tribute to the grain whiskey we would have been drinking had this modern speakeasy not evolved to serve spirits which don’t turn you blind. If you don’t think that’s cool then you need have a good look in the mirror and reevaluate the decisions which led you to reading this nonsensical blog. If that look in the mirror hasn’t convinced you that this is cool then you’re either a) insane or b) cooler than me. Most likely the latter.

I mentioned that the spirits used today are actually fit for human consumption unlike those of the real prohibition. This brings me on to one of the things which sets this bar aside from the many other prohibition themed bars in this city. On request, and provided you remortgage your house, you can try genuine 1920's prohibition whiskey. Obviously most of us will never take advantage of this facility but, as I like to say to myself when buying condoms: ‘although I won't get the chance to use these, I feel happier knowing that they're there’.

*Our legal team has asked me to point out that my analysis of Start Trouble is based on speculation and an attempt to be funny rather than any musical knowledge or critical ability. We are not in any way endorsed by Mr. Trouble. He does sound fun though.


Bar Nightjar,
129 City Road,
London,
EC1V 1JB

0207 253 4101

www.barnightjar.com

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