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Tuesday 11 June 2013

Floripa - Dutch Gin House - Nola Bar

Wednesday 5th July - One week before this outing, I was having a moan about how Brixton manages to have style and quality for half the price of a night out in Soho and Shoreditch, but here I am back in Old Street again (and Soho two days later).  It was pretty inevitable wasn't it?  Let's see how it compared.

The sun was out so I decided to meet List Leader Natalie, 4th placed Lauren and 7th placed Cath at Brazilian bar Floripa as they have a fair amount of outside space on the corners of Great Eastern, Rivington and Old Street.  A generous happy hour is in place every weekday from 5-7 with £2.50 bottles of Sol, £5 Caipirinhas and Mojitos, and a £6 flaming Fogo de Floripa - keeping pace with Brixton so far.  The interior is tropically decked out with a stage for live music.  I'm pretty keen to return for their Sunday Jazz Meat Roast which sounds excellent.

We moved back outside to take advantage of their free babyfoot table - it's hard to beat £2.50 beers and free table football outdoors in the sun for after work drinks.  Natalie didn't manage to build on her last table football session with Marta and the boys in Azulito as Lauren and I remained undefeated throughout happy hour.  I will need to return for the whole Comer, Beber, Dancar experience - music listings look good and I am tempted by their Beijos (a shot of Cachaca with a pepper rim and a strawberry on the side).  For sharing cocktail lovers, there is a £36 Bloc Party Punch for 5 served in an antique suitcase.

With happy hour finished, we wandered down Rivington Street to the Jubjub Bar in Callooh Callay to try out their latest pop-up theme, the Dutch Gin House.  Last month the bar was in brightly coloured Cantina de Cuervo mode with Chilli Tequila Slushies and Lucha Libre wrestling on TV in the corner.  They have done wonders to make it look completely different this time around with cosy candlelit tables and tiny clogs all over the place.  

Tiny clogs on the ceiling!
The drinks are still being served up by Clo who was up there for Cantina de Cuervo.  Eggs "over easy", Freshly Squeezed, Mumbo Jumbo, Melba Tulip and Red Light District all impressed.  Well done to Cath for ordering Crunch Corner - Genever with peach, mango and yoghurt liqueurs garnished with a sprinkling of muesli.  Thanks to Clo for a free taster of the Bols Natural Yoghurt liqueur which reminded me of Amarula - strange stuff.  I went for a Kopstootje (translates to little headbutt!) which is essentially a beer and a shot of Genever - you must take a hands free sip of the Genever first followed by a swig of beer before you can drink the rest of it.  There was only Amstel on the beer side - some more interesting Dutch choices would have been appreciated though that is a small complaint.  We made our way through their bar snacks menu as well - Chips, Dutch Potato Croquettes, Gouda Cheese Fritters and Pork Bitterballlen all served with tasty homemade tomato dip and spicy mustard mayo.

Kopstootje - Little Headbutt
There a few events going on there including a Bols Brainiest quiz tonight (11th June) and celebrations on World Gin Day (Saturday 15th June if you haven't managed to get tickets to Ginstock).  I tried to get Clo to reveal the next Jubjub bar theme (launching July 4th) but she was having none of it - judging by the last two it will be worth a visit.  Our final stop was just over the road at Nola Bar above Bedroom Bar - apparently several groups have been taking in these two neighbouring places in the same evening.  Clo told us to order a round of Ramos Gin Fizz (which is supposed to be shaken vigorously for 12 minutes) to wind them up.  Luke joined us as we were leaving (squeezing in a speedy cocktail at Jubjub) and the 5 of us walked over to Nola.

Dutch Gin House - finishes June 29th
Nola Bar is a New Orleans inspired bar with everything you would expect - Creole cuisine, Hurricanes, Sazeracs and live music.  Unless you knew where you were going, your only chance of finding it would be hearing the music out of the windows above Bedroom Bar.  It makes a pleasant change to have a bar tucked away upstairs rather than in a basement!  Bedroom Bar was totally deserted but Nola was buzzing.  It's worth booking ahead if you want to guarantee yourself a table.  Their chef sadly left them in the first week so they are generously dishing out free delicious taster portions of Jambalaya to plug the gap until they are satisfied with a new authentic Creole cuisine trained cook in the house.  Natalie did go for a Ramos Gin Fizz in the end, whilst others had various Hurricanes and Dixieland beers.  The brave can order a Doctor John twist on a Cosmo for 6 served in an absinthe rinsed glass skull.  One pound of every drink goes to relief efforts in New Orleans which makes you feel warm and fuzzy inside (or maybe that's just the booze?).

The main reason to come is to let the whole experience (especially the music) transport you to the French Quarter.  I wasn't initially blown away with covers of Amy Winehouse etc not quite hitting the New Orleans mark for me, but a larger band started up as we were leaving who seemed to be on the right track.  I would love to see Snarky Puppy or the cast of Treme squeezing in here! They did have Dan Ackroyd down in their first week which I sadly missed. Fridays and Saturdays are supposedly wonderful with the bar open til 3am.  Their is a members only policy after midnight to keep the rabble out - fill out one of their hilarious annotated forms mocking Shoreditch House membership to gain access.  This could well be the nest new place to end your night in Shoreditch - head down there soon to find out.

So it was inevitably more expensive than Brixton, but this time I'm not complaining.  There's so much variety that I just can't stay away!  I'm a sucker for a theme and being able to enjoy Brazil, Holland and New Orleans is why I love London this year.  Stay tuned for the next post in a couple of days on a night out in Soho with 5 new List-worthy places! Thanks to Team List - Leader Natalie edges closer to the big 50 points marker, will anyone ever catch her?

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