What do we want from a bar? In truth, that depends on our mood. Sometimes it might be a five-star establishment to show off a bit of fancy schmutter and make us think we’re posh. On other occasions it’ll be a place that makes us feel like we’re entertaining or being entertained at home. Obviously, great drinks come into the equation. So too do excellent hosting skills and a sense of fun. Otherwise, quite frankly why bother going out and parting with your hard-earned cash?
The mood at Southsider Cocktail Club doesn’t dictate that you should dust down your finery any time soon but if you’re after a cool neighbourhood setting where you can sip on well-made, inventive drinks with a healthy dash of humour thrown in, it’ll certainly rock your boat.
You’ll find evidence of the good-times vibe on the menu… Take the Shrug & Tug for instance. Described as ‘A Mexican, a Spaniard and a Memphian (?) all walk into a massage parlour – try it, everyone loves a happy ending!’, it’s a crazy mix of chorizo Iligal Joven Mezcal, Southsider Cocktail Club pineapple shrub, lemon juice and Memphis BBQ bitters. It’s served short and is accompanied by a mini shish and a very wide, very playful smile. And it works perfectly.
As does the Dirty Man-Harry, aka ‘Go ahead, make my drink’ (above). Here’s where a heady mix of Zacapa 23 rum. Amaro Montenegro, Dr. Adam Elmegirab Aphrodite Bitters is lightly smoked with applewood, then served in a gun-shaped flask in its own ice bucket, all spritzed with a bad boy tobacco mist. Now this really is a party in a glass. For those who prefer something a little sweeter there’s the very delicious Blueberry Pancake Mule – Granola Cariel vanilla vodka, Southsider Cocktail Club Blueberry vermouth, Wray & Nephew rum, Dr. Adam Elmegirab Teapot Bitters, lime juice, Southsider Cocktail Club Fiery Cinnamon Ginger Beer – served with a rather tasty homemade brandy snap to nibble on should you wish (we couldn’t resist).
Or how about the justifiably popular Grandma Sloane’s Tea Time Tipple with Vanilla Rose Pouchong tea steeped in Sloane’s gin, mixed with rose syrup, lemon juice and Regan’s Orange Bitters? This one comes in boho granny-stylee bone china with a very tasty homemade vanilla macaroon on the side. Like all of the drinks we sampled here, it’s a cheeky balance of seriously good drinks by people who don’t take themselves too seriously.
Ms S says:
Resist the temptation to sidle up to your nearest and dearest in one of the shiny red booths and get as close to the action at the bar as you can. From this vantage point you’ll get to see why Robin, James and Danny have been winning competitions – they’re as effortless with the patter as they are with their very clever, extremely original drinks. There are so many good cocktails on this menu it’s hard to narrow it down but on an imaginative level I’ll go for the Full English Flip. I mean, really, Bacon Woodford Reserve Bourbon, a whole egg, maple syrup, Angostura aromatic bitters and dehydrated bacon crumb? Now that really is something else.
Mr G says:
If you’re lucky enough to be a local then this is some place to have on your doorstep. But if you don’t happen to reside in the SW11 part of London do yourself a favour, take an evening off and head on over. It’s cozy but kooky and I felt right at home the minute I pulled up my bar stool. It also has one of those menus that I want to keep on reading, partly because there’s a lot of enticing stuff going on but also because it just makes me feel good reading it. After several reads I went for the Dirty Man Harry because it sounded good and made me smile. Yes it looked daft with a big old glass gun containing the drink but you know what? It tasted damned good. And it did actually make my day. I’ll be heading back real soon to seen what these guys do with a Dry Martini…
What’s the damage?
£7-£9.50 – bargain.
The Southsider Cocktail Club, 55 Battersea Rise, SW11 1EG. T: 020 7223 4217. thesouthsidercocktailclub.co.uk.