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Monday 25 March 2013

B.Y.O.C - Pitt Cue Co.

Before I get to B.Y.O.C and Pitt Cue Co, my Dad has earned a mention this week by scouring through my blogs for typos and coming up with a winner. Apologies to Homeslice pizza who I listed as Homelice (not so appetizing) in my last post! Two members of Team List also amused me last week.  Firstly, Team Leader Natalie had to ask me how to spell beer for a wifi password (she was thinking of going with "bear") and secondly, Cheryl asked if the Duck and Waffle was situated at the top of The Shaft. Unless a risqué new building has recently opened that I am unaware of, I think she was going for The Shard - sadly, the correct answer is Heron Tower.

Tuesday 19th March: I booked a table for 4 at B.Y.O.C two weeks ago upon hearing rumours that it was close to being full up til late June. They have just got a new booking system to deal with the enormous number of enquiries and there are a few teething problems.  I went for 20.15 but was contacted a couple of days later saying that a mistake had been made and that only 18.30 was available, meaning I had to assemble a new team the night before. Luckily, Cath, Taro and Cheryl came to the rescue and we started planning what to bring.

B.Y.O.C is a tiny speakeasy style bar (hidden beneath the Juice Club on Bedfordbury Street) with a fun premise - everyone turns up with their own booze, pays a cover charge (£20 for two hours) and crams into a small cellar where a mixologist is waiting with a trolley of non-alcoholic treats, ready to invent cocktails on the spot.  We possibly went overboard on the alcohol front - Spiced rum, Passionfruit and Habanero Rum, 4 types of Vodka, Peach Schnapps, Pisco, Prickly Pear Liqueur, Vanilla Liqueur, Blackberry Liqueur, and a bottle of Brewdog Hardcore IPA. The table next to us brought a bottle of gin.

Every table was packed and the atmosphere was great - glasses hang above you, candles tucked away in alcoves give the room just enough light and old fashioned music plays in the background.  The immaculately dressed Cally squeezed his tray in between the tables and started to work his way around the  room. It quickly became clear however that it was going to be a slow night - Cally, whilst very friendly and funny, wasn't the most efficient barman I have ever met and it took 75 minutes to get on to our second drink.

This is where having your own spirits starts to come in handy! We started mixing our own entirely alcohol based cocktails to pass the time - if I were to go again I would definitely bring some wine/beers to have on the side. The B.Y.O.C staff did deal with it extremely well by giving us a whole extra hour in the bar which more than made up for the slow start.  Sadly though the drinks themselves were frankly not that exciting, considering the great ingredients we had provided. I did read mixed reviews in the build up saying it very much depends what barman you get, but I would have hoped they still could have mixed up something more memorable than our own concoctions!  That said, we did have a really fun time huddled around our little table, chatting with Cally and our fellow patrons.  One drinker helped us to translate a mysterious Ukrainian bottle, and I must give a special shout out to "Jemma with a J" and "Charlotte with a C" for giving us their  leftover champagne on the way out.

Bizarrely, after our 2 hour slot, no new customers turned up in the bar, despite the fact that it should have been fully booked up to 12.30 (especially after I was forced to change time).  The staff were packing up and heading home at 9.30 rather than hoping people would turn up which seemed a little odd to me. Despite all these glitches, I still recommend a visit for a quirky, London experience - just keep your fingers crossed for a great mixologist!

It's a bad habit
We stumbled back out into the night and headed in to Soho for some much needed food. Cath left us at this point to get some rest before saving lives the next day. The three potentials were Bone Daddies, Pizza Pilgrims and Pitt Cue Co - the latter winning on the grounds that it was probably the most satisfying drunk food to eat. Queues can be long early in the evening as you can't make reservations which can be off putting but at 10pm we walked straight in and were eating 10 minutes later.  Taro, struggling at this point after foolishly adding extra rum to his last rum cocktail, went for Pulled Pork with roast veg whilst I went for a Pulled Pork Bun with Bone Marrow Mash (pretty special) and Cheryl went for House Sausage (not as good as the pulled pork options).  I was instantly jealous of Taro's massive portion of pulled pork (everything is served in deep canteen style trays) but luckily I got to eat most of it anyway whilst he was "going for a walk to get some air" in the toilet.

They also have tasty beers and cocktails on offer. There is a small bar upstairs where you can have a drink or two whilst you wait to be seated in one of the 30 seats downstairs. We went for some Kernel beers with our meat (it is worth visiting their tiny brewery/shop on Saturdays in Maltby market in Bermondsey) which were a perfect accompaniment. I'll definitely head back at some point to get an idea of how long the queues are at a more normal time to eat, and to try out some cocktails and daily specials. The menu changes fairly regularly if you need an excuse for a repeat visit!

Thanks very much to Team List for a great night out - Cath (BYOC), Cheryl and Taro (BYOC and Pitt Cue Co).  Well done in particular to Taro for making it home and into work the next day (I assume?). This is the first of a few quickfire blogs after a bit of a backlog has built up - keep your eyes peeled for my next post on Malt Jockey, Wigwambam and Whistle Shop and the epic special edition from Paris (18 places visited in 3 days - will we have a new Team Leader?).  Meanwhile, buy your tickets for the Hen Party 4 course pop up!

Square Meal

Square Meal


  1. I'm going to BYOC tomorrow. Not expecting too much from your review but we'll see! Can you recommend what booze to take? Perhaps I'll take something creamy like Baileys along with vodka.

  2. Hey Caroline, it was really fun anyway and you could well have an awesome barman. Maybe take a couple of different things. White wine could be used for cocktails and you could drink it on the side too. Baileys might not be helpful if they don't have milk to make a creamy cocktail but no harm in taking it!


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