WITH a reputation for fine dining, the award-winning Dish restaurant business, named by this newspaper as best newcomer at our Oliver awards in March 2013, I was intrigued by what this venue would serve up as a bar experience.
Two years had passed since this Boar Lane establishment had come under the scrutiny of Barfly and so on a dank January evening, after-work drinks were worth a shot.
Its upstairs dining space was out of the question as it was undergoing a refurbishment but the slick downstairs cocktail bar was open.
Fresh from the hustle of a busy street, the calming tones of the interior were an instant relief.
Tastefully modern, with subtle orange uplighting, from wooden floors rise a couple of high top tables with plush cherry-red leather-topped stools to accommodate eight sat down at each; the tables decorated with chunky white candles in bulbous clear vases.
A small table to the left of the entrance accommodates four sitting and with a few other seating spaces thrown in, it is a relatively intimate space, suitable to cosy catch-ups for couples over one of the two dozen-plus choices of white, red and rose wines.
This is a bar which aims to please with its extensive cocktail options, and an upbeat throwback of a playlist featuring Kool and the Gang, Michael Jackson and James Brown prompts a fun vibe.
A quote above the corner bar, attributed to Frank Sinatra encourages good times - I feel bad for people who don’t drink. When they wake up in the morning, that’s as good as they are going to feel all day.”
Don’t worry about a hangover? You might, especially if you sample the extensive spirits on offer. An array of whisky, malt, Irish, bourbon, rye, cognac and even some intriguing Japanese liqueurs are available.
There are two cocktail menus, the standard menu, enlivened with some different takes on usual favourites such as the ‘Bloody Politician’, a twist on a Bloody Mary featuring a blend of Fort, gin, brown sauce, lemon juice and tomato juice, and a Cocktail of the Week menu, available upon request. Prices start at £6.50.
I went for a refreshing bourbon, Cointreau and maraschino Kentucky Sidecar served in a Martini glass. From the wine menu, a 175ml glass of a surprising uncomplicated Argentinian Malbec, followed by a pint of Dortmunder beer.
The bill totalled a tad pricey £17.80, but typical of a cocktail bar in a big city.
On the whole, the intimacy of the venue and its mood lighting made for a pleasing atmosphere, and the well presented and extensive range of cocktails meant picking a drink was enjoyable. Maybe next time I’ll try the food.