London Grilling with BarChick
This is a London Grilling we’ve been eagerly awaiting, ever since we joined the BarChick girls for cocktails a top The Gherkin back in March.
BarChick is a London based enterprise dedicated to charting and documenting the best in, yep you guessed it, bars. And when we say bars, we mean the leading watering holes right across the globe.
This is a team of experienced ladies with cultivated taste-buds and tough livers. As well as a regular column in the Evening Standard, if you visit the BarChick site, you’ll find the encyclopaedic lowdown on bars in every corner of the world.
What does it take to be a BarChick? Responsive taste buds? A hardy liver?
BarChicks are hard to come by: you need a strong liver and a huge appetite for fun and discovering new places. You need to like staying out late, but equally you need to remember everything, and be at work on time (ish) the next day. Since BarChick first set out we now have six more BarChicks all with a different set of skills. Some are cocktail masters, some know more about the food scene, and some speak languages and know about cities all over the world. But I think the things everyone has in common are the “say yes to life” attitude, a great sense of humour, the ability to have a lot of fun, laugh, and just be generally wonderful people!
What’s the wackiest cocktail experience you’ve ever had in London?
Erm… wacky… well we’ve recently been drinking the world’s spiciest cocktail at the Vibe Bar, and that won’t be forgotten anytime soon. Also, Belvedere are currently doing the experience room at Worship Street Whistling Shop; you travel throughout time, celebrating and learning about vodka cocktails as you go. The future sees the reverse Gibson (a Gibson is a Martini with two silver skin onions), which involves lots of dry ice and making silver skin onion sorbet; it was amazing to watch.
Are there any drinks you simply can’t stomach anymore?
That spicy cocktail!
Did you guys always plan to be bar connoisseurs, or was it something you just fell into?
Just like ending up lost in the staff quarters of a hotel near Waterloo Bridge after our first BarJack – none of this was really planned out. Going out and finding new places was always something I was good at, but no I definitely did not plan all this (and I am definitely not complaining)..
Summer is coming (we hope), so it’s a good time to ask: do you have any secret tips for making Pimm’s?
Definitely try making Pimm’s on your own! You need Cointreau, Campari, Sweet Vermouth, and Crème de Mure, not easy but delicious. Not for you? Then try adding some gin, try it with ginger ale, lots of seasonal fruit, add cucumbers, blueberries, and always lots of mint. You can try freezing the fruit too.
On the bar front, how does London compare to other cities around the world?
Over the last two years, the scene has really improved. London’s been home to some historically important bars such as The American Bar at The Savoy and Dukes, and now the new wave of bars is making London one of the hottest cities in the world for cocktails. Copenhagen, Paris and New York are also up there.
Where in London, would you recommend going for a:
Delicious brunch: Providores y Tapas in Marylebone is a little bit different and amazing, The Wolseley if you’re feeling fancy, Hix for something British, Riding House Café and Caravan.
Tasty Bloody Mary: PKD in Clapham, Hawksmoor or The Zetter Townhouse. Also The Connaught Bar does one of the best Bloody Marys I’ve ever tasted – the “celery air” on the top takes it to the next level.
Great place for a first date: 69 Colebrooke Row, it’s cool, sexy and the cocktails are amazing. Gordon’s Wine Bar is a great place to take a date but it gets busy. Otherwise, Spuntino in Soho is really cool, dimly-lit and laid back and you can head to the ECC after to really seal the deal.
Venue for a boozy meet-up with your mates: Callooh Callay is a winner! Killer cocktails, hidden bars through wardrobes and lots of fun people.
For beer lovers: it has to be Camden’s BrewDog. They have a quick cash bar downstairs, amazing beers and loads that you’ll not find anywhere else. Ridley Road Market Bar is chilled, cheap and they do simple, tasty drinks like tequila and grapefruit or gin and pomegranate, and from Thursday to Saturday, the boys from Luca Italian Meatballs have a stand outside – it’s delicious!
Not to mention Barts - for some speakeasy fun, great drinks and a fancy dress box if you’re up for a party! Lastly, El Camion – for a late-night disco in Soho, no real door policy and some amazing tequila! Then hit Dalston for late night debauchery at The Dolphin, Efes, Dalston Superstore…none will disappoint, but some may shock.