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Monday 1 April 2013

Attendant - Rev JW Simpson - Bubbledogs - London Cocktail Club - Artesian Bar

Tuesday 26th March - Last week I went to a Monkey Shoulder whiskey event called Malt Jockey (read about it here) with Sam.  A few days later they announced on Twitter that they would be holding a follow up after party at London Cocktail Club near Goodge Street with their ambassador bartender, Dean Callan. Sam wasn't around to attend but luckily whiskey enthusiast Will was ready to step up in his place, eager to get off the mark on The List.  After a quick check of the area, we found some other List-worthy places nearby to add to Will's score for the day.

Dean Callan - pic from
We started off at 4pm at Attendant on Foley Street, a fantastic new café located in a restored Victorian toilet.  We were lucky to get a urinal seat (didn't think I'd ever say that) as it is a popular place.  It is currently open Mon-Fri 8.00-18.00 and Sat 10.00-17.00.  

They have daily hot food specials which seem to sell out around lunch time so get there early. There is a "banquette" table that can be hired from 8.00am for an unorthodox office meeting! We had some excellent tea served in individual teapots and I went for a blueberry crumble cake (provided by Bittersweet Bakers) that was delicious.  It is definitely worth heading over there just for the novelty value but then you will probably find yourself coming back due to the high quality produce on offer (at reasonable prices). Satisfied, we had a check on the Bubbledogs queue, which thankfully hadn't started to form, and went for a quick pint in the excellent Draft House (one left to complete the set) followed by an even quicker cocktail in Rev. JW Simpson.

Look for a little black door on Goodge Street with Rev. JW Simpson written at the top and head down the stairs into a cold basement bar with peeling wallpaper that has a slightly creepy feel to it. This is probably down to the fact that this space was lived in by Reverend JW Simpson until the late 1980s before it turned into the seedier Capricorn Club that was apparently raided by the police in 2009. We went for two £8 cocktails - Mead Feast (mead, basil, honey & quince liqueur, lemon juice, bitters) was the winner - with an enjoyable free bowl of nuts on the side.  It's nice enough, with high quality cocktails from the Bourne and Hollingsworth team (it's a shame I didn't realise that they were round the corner too), but it really doesn't stand out from the crowd with its limited menu and dodgy décor.  We quickly made our way back on to the street to beat the Bubbledogs queue.

Bubbledogs is insanely popular for what it is - hot dogs and champagne.  Have a quick look through their guestbook to see baffling messages left by people who queued for two hours and were still delighted! Luckily we walked straight in at 17.30 when it opened as it quickly started to fill up.  The restaurant looks great (although there is very little room for the many waiters to squeeze by) with amusing hot dog themed artwork all around.

The hot dogs were tasty but on the small side considering this is a restaurant not street food.  The main problem is that the hot dogs take about a minute to eat and then you are just left drinking champagne for as long as you like, while the crowd builds up outside. For a bigger, better and quicker hot dog & champagne experience, order from the Big Apple Hot Dogs van whilst swigging from your own bottle of bubbly.  More interesting is the hidden room in the back which is the home of Kitchen Table - an intimate restaurant set around one table with room for 19 guests run by the same people as Bubbledogs.

Kitchen Table
Fairly unimpressed, we moved on to London Cocktail Club for some whiskey cocktails from the Monkey Shoulder team. Don't be fooled by the ordinary name, LCC Goodge Street (there is another on Shaftesbury Avenue) is a fantastic underground bar decked out like an old gin palace. I can't comment on the drinks from the menu but everyone I talked to at the bar raved about the cocktails and the bartenders. The food menu also looks enticing, especially the pudding cocktails!

London Cocktail Club - Goodge Street Gin Palace
We were treated excellently by the Monkey Shoulder team (Olivier splashing the cash, Dean making the cocktails) who were giving out free drinks based on their whiskey and talking about their upcoming events and experiences so far.  It was great fun getting the inside scoop on Monkey Shoulder events (look out for Popcorn Flip on 21st November!) and the lifestyle of an ambassador bartender - Dean had coincidentally been to Paris at the weekend like me but had spent considerably more than I had done overall in just one place! We even found ourselves listening to Dean's grandfather's old jazz band on his brother's iPod - check out Theis Nyegaard Jazzband if you are interested.  We had an Old Fashioned (one barrel aged and one freshly made to compare - barrel wins) and a Morning Glory each. We could have stayed there a lot longer as we were enjoying chatting away but more hopeful malt jockeys were turning up so we disappeared into the nice Young's pub over the road (The One Tun) to watch England vs Montenegro.

LCC creations
Two hours and two goals later we emerged back on to Goodge Street (all these places are extremely close to one another!) and decided to go to one last place that Dean had recommended earlier on.  He told us to go to The Artesian Bar at The Langham Hotel, and to order a Pina Colada with an umbrella, so that's what we did!  It's an expensive place to drink but if you can afford it, this is the place to be.  The drinks are excellent - seriously, try the Pina Colada - and the bar staff are top class.  The drinks cabinet is a sight to behold - sit at the bar so that you can ask about their weirder bottles.  We had a cheeky taster of hisbiscus, rosebud and white tea syrup.

Ask about the mysterious Black Top rum
The drinks menu is well put together with an interesting cocktail flavour map complete with axes included at the back (I love a good graph), but you may well also want to ask them to make up something completely new on the spot.  Whilst we were enjoying our Pina Coladas, Dean unexpectedly walked in with friends and introduced us to the barman serving us that he happens to live with (they must have some crazy parties). I thought I already had the exciting umbrella on the side of my glass but it turned out he was talking about something much bigger and sillier - a pretty manly picture I'm sure you will all agree.  We decided to stay for one more as his flatmate offered to make us something a bit different to finish. Mine was Japanese themed, served in a small box on top of some anime artwork - see the picture below.  Just as we were on our way out, Dean said "Don't leave without holding Johnny Depp's gun". I wasn't expecting that but a few moments later I was holding a pistol from Pirates of the Carribean 2 and a hat that the cast must have left behind!

Thanks to Will for an impressive début List appearance (5 points in one evening) and to everyone involved in the Monkey Shoulder event at London Cocktail Club for their generosity, and finally to Dean and his flatmate at Artesian Bar for helping us to end the evening in style!

Also, please check out some of my talented/crazy friends:

Photographer Seb -

Comedian Andy - also part of the Austentatious gang - - @andrewhunterm

3000 Mile Athlete Fundraiser Ali -

Freelance writer and scientist Cassie -

Art journalist Maggie -

Travel Blogger/ Future Lithuanian Ambassador Max I -

Writer Max K - recently won HJI-Reed Youth Unemployment Essay Prize -

Paris Blog Quiz Prize - It's still open! I have received a couple of incorrect entries, and two correct entries from Tim and Shan on Wire who can't win because they were involved.  Don't all rush at once!

Square Meal

Square Meal

Square Meal

Square Meal


  1. 21st November. I'm there. Wonder if I'll have lost top spot by then...

    1. You have indeed lost top spot. Will you make it to Popcorn Flip?

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