Head Here If… You want to be a cool cat, entering a bar through a retro fridge door
Don’t turn up to The Mayor of Scaredy Cat Town expecting to find anything as conventional as a door. Just like the 1920s/1930s illicit drinking dens this tongue-in-chic bar models itself on, it has a split personality. There’s the everyday, acceptable face of the venue – the family-friendly Breakfast Club on ground level which you enter from the street, and for those in the know there’s the incognito bar squarely aimed at adults accessed through a Smeg fridge…
First Things First
Before we get started, just remember booking is essential – like any well-mannered guest, you don’t just rock up and poke your head in the fridge. The drill is you call, or email ahead and only once your name has been checked off and you’re given the nod can you step inside the cool-as-you-like entrance and make your way into the clandestine bar below.
The mood is just perfect: dark and cosy with just a smidge of ramshackledy kitsch to bring to mind illicit drinking dens, balanced with bright touches like a blinged up portrait of the Queen to let you know The Mayor doesn’t take himself too seriously. The playful air is reinforced by the code of conduct on the menu: “Only use the Smeg on your first entry of the night. Never depart via the Fridge. Act nonchalantly as if you’ve just had a pee. Gentlemen, you are advised to leave your fly down to add to the charade. Ladies, if you’d leave your skirt in your knickers, it would be greatly appreciated.” We also like the bit that says: “a small selection of juices and coffees also available – but that’s not what this joint is all about!” Mr Mayor, we salute your style.
Inspired by a recent trip to Cognac, Ms S picks out the Pear Cardamom Sidecar (Xante pear brandy, Grand Marnier, cardamom and lemon) from the menu. Thanks to the south-east Asian spice, there’s a welcome touch of the exotic about it; it’s there on the nose and nicely confirmed on the palate. It starts off well but gets sweeter with every sip, which is great if you like sweet cocktails but not so great if like Ms S, you veer towards the dry/sour end of the taste spectrum. That said, it still disappears from her glass…
Everything about this place has a nice straightforward kind of feel, and that includes ordering a Dry Martini. Which gin do you recomend? “Plymouth.” Why? “We like it.” And said with nice smiles and genuine sincerity, so Plymouth it is. It arrives promptly, looks good and is well mixed. It’s nothing fancy, but then it’s not trying to be. But it is very tasty and slips down easily. Nice work.
Ms S counteracts the sweetness of her first cocktail with a simple classic dry martini and like Mr G, is perfectly satisfied with her choice. As for Mr G, what’s not to like about a Negroni (Plymouth gin, Martini Rosso, Campari) served in a super-size-me rocks glass filled with giant ice cubes and sporting possibly the biggest piece of orange you ever did see? Nothing actually. This is an extremely well put together drink and hit the spot – dead centre.
And To Eat?
They keep their ‘Cat Food’ nice and snappy with fun, Americana-inspired dishes that Elvis would have loved including chilli cheese fries (£6), lord of the onion rings (£5) and meat balls of fire (£7).
Look Out For
Worth noting is the Hair of the Cat, or the Brunch Behind The Fridge every Friday to Sunday (midday to 4pm), serving up Bloody Marys (vodka) Bloody Marias (tequila) and Red Snappers (gin) all prepared at your table with a homemade roasted cherry tomato base. The weekend menu also includes Scaredy Cat’s Morning Mojito (£8); mango bellino (£5), mimosa (£5) and champagne breakfasts.
What’s The Damage?
Ms S says
Grab your favourite cocktail lovers, book your place and show off your knowledge of London’s quirkiest drinking spot. The drinks are good, the atmosphere is rocking and the smallish space is cleverly designed to suit couples and larger groups. Drinks with The Mayor = good times.
Mr G says
This is a lovely little place. Round up a few friends, then spring the whole walk-through-the-fridge-door-into-the-speakeasy thing on them. Worth it just to see the look on their faces. And that’s even before you get stuck into a guaranteed great afternoon, evening or whatever.
The Mayor of Scaredy Cat Town, 12-16 Artillery Lane, E1 7LS. T: 020 7078 9639. email: firstname.lastname@example.org themayorofscaredycattown.com
Open Mon-Thurs 4pm-12am; Fri-Sun 12pm-12am.