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Bar Review: Nightjar, Shoreditch in London

There was a time when drinking was widely considered to be one of life’s pleasures and not an evil. At Nightjar, the dimly-lit Shoreditch basement bar frequently included in global lists for the best places for liquid libations, the art of drinking is celebrated.

Walk down the stairs and you’re welcomed into a 1920s speakeasy with the murmur of conversations hidden behind the live music coming from the pianist playing a mix of vintage tunes. The menu is extensive, to say the list.

Divided into pre-prohibition, prohibition, post-war, and signature cocktails, expect innovative drinks featuring twists on every turn and a plethora of well thought out ingredients. You will naturally find a drink for every mood, occasion, and spirit preference.

The Marconi is one of the innovative ” Prohibition ” cocktails

Aside from enjoying the array of bar bites like the delicious fried squid with galangal paste and lime mayo, we were on a mission to test Nightjar’s newly launched menu, which pays homage to the Arts & Crafts movement of the late 1800s.

From decorative vessels to colourful drinks, the new menu bursts with artistic flair and creative concoctions. A section featuring low- and non-alcoholic drinks is a welcome addition for the increasing number of guests who have decided to reduce their alcohol intake.

Taking it back to my roots, I opted to have the Filipino as my first drink of the night. Described as a tropical, lightly smoky, and smooth cocktail, I very much enjoyed the silky Ableforth’s Bathtub gin that was given a zing with Nightjar’s take on our traditional kalamansi liqueur.

The Saratoga makes a star spangled banner-styled entrance

Another highlight was the pre-prohibition and patriotic Saratoga, which made a star spangled banner-styled entrance. The strong, complex, Manhattan-style drink uses Woodford Reserve rye whiskey, Hennessy VS Cognac, Macchia vermouth, the regional Floc de Gascogne aperitif, lowlander American IPA, and a strawberry seed infusion for a combination that gives you a jolt in all the best ways.

Head bartender Antonio Pescatori and his team have put a spotlight on independent and under-the-radar distilleries for the Arts & Crafts offering, which will be available for a year. Live music at Nightjar starts at 9:30 pm every night featuring a range of jazz and blues artists.

Address: 129 City Rd, Old Street, London EC1V 1JB
Phone: 020 7253 4101