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Thursday 16 April 2015

Joyeux Bordel

Today's post features an exclusive sneak preview of Experimental Group's brand new late night London bar which launched this week in EC2.


Joyeux Bordel - Translation : Happy Mess (or brothel - take your pick)


The Experimental Group is much more than just a clandestine Chinatown cocktail bar with a hard-to-please doorman.  Since opening up the original Experimental Cocktail Club (ECC) in Paris in 2007, the group have rapidly expanded and now operate 13 sites including ECC New York, Compagnie des Vins Surnaturels in Paris, NY and London, Beef Club and Fish Club restaurants in Paris, and even an Experimental Beach in Ibiza. 

On top of that, last month they added Le Grand Pigalle Paris to that list - their first foray in to the hotel business. Quite by chance, I was in the City of Light at the weekend and squeezed in a visit to Le Grand Pigalle hotel bar, but that's a long story...

Anyway, back in London, their 14th site has just opened at 147 Curtain Road in Old Street, and it's a boozy basement number called Joyeux Bordel.  

Now what can I tell you about it? Oh, well you can make reservations. Just send an email to - the desk is open Mon-Sat until 5pm.

Opening times might help too:

Monday - Wednesday: 6pm - 2am
Thursday - Saturday: 6pm - 3am
Sunday: 6pm – midnight

Hooray for late night opening hours, there aren't nearly enough places of worth open after midnight.

Once you've made it past the doorman, you'll make your way down to a spacious but cosy candlelit cocktail bar. I'd always opt for a seat at the bar myself - this is where you'll find Adrien Russotto, Joshua Esposito and Florian Dubois working their magic, along with some ECC alumni most probably.  If you do go for table service, Berliner Sabrina or Finnish/Egyptian Rameses from Helsinki will look after you.

The full menu has just been released:


Bric-A-Brac - Yellow Chartreuse, Lillet Blanc, Elderflower Cordial, Pepper Mix, Sage, Lemon & Champagne - £10

Picotin - Lemon, Aquavit OP Anderson, Suze, Cocchi Americano, Luxardo Maraschino - £10

Black Beard - Appleton 7, Smith & Cross Rum, Homemade Falernum, Aperol, Fernet Branca, Grapefruit Zest - £11

É Nossa - Cachaca Yaguara, Lime, Sugar, Peychauds & Peach Bitters, Ginger Ale - £11

Saint Germain Des Prés - Hendricks Gin, St.Germain, Lime Juice, Elderflower Cordial, Egg White, Spiced Tincture, Cucumber Juice - £10.50

Tommy's Cut - Vida Mezcal, Agave, Lime, Sweet Vermouth, Pink Grapefruit - £10.50

Jolly Mess - Vulson White Rhino Rye, Eaux de vie de Poire, Antica Formula, Cardamom Syrup, Mozart Dark Chocolate Liqueur - £10.50

Softly Softly - Suze, Dolin Dry, Hendricks Gin, Chilli Thai Tincture, Olive - £9.50

Sparrows Can't Sing - Madras-infused Vodka, Applejack, Strega, Lemon, Vanilla Syrup, Simple Syrup, Coriander - £9.50

Something Italian - Buffalo Trace Bourbon, Cynar, Amaro Ciociaro, Lime, Ginger, Soda - £10


Picotin was the pic'o'the'bunch (new low for me there), bringing complex flavours together to form a satisfying thirst quencher. Second place goes to Tommy's Cut, a subtle twist on a Tommy's Margarita that you'll finish in a few gulps.  Jolly Mess is another winner if you like your cocktails boozy.

Of course, you can always go off menu, and I unsurprisingly went in an agave direction with a superb Mezcal Negroni (Vida, Calle 23 Tequila, Barolo Chinato, Rabarbaro) and an equally excellent Mezcal Highball creation with ginger ale.  I also highly recommend Fabiano's classy Americano twist with Belsazar Red and a touch of sea salt - apparently a splash of bourbon doesn't hurt either.

Mezcal Negroni - Del Maguey Vida, Calle 23 Tequila, Barolo Chinato, Rabarbaro

Picotin - Lemon, Aquavit OP Anderson, Suze, Cocchi Americano, Maraschino Luxardo

To soak up the booze, they have sensibly put together a few small plate options including some delicious Rillette, Roasted Ham and Cooked Ham from local butchers and restaurant Hill & Szrok, plus an Androuet Three Cheeses Selection. London has been slow to pick up on the high end and late night bar snacks trade - hopefully more will follow suit soon.

If you've had your fill of cocktails, cheese, and charcuterie, you might want to investigate Joyeux Bordel's back bar.  Start off with a taste of ECC partner Xavier Padovani's Vulson White Rhino Rye which was only released in January - read more here.  In the early part of the week, you might find Xavier & co. pouring £5 tasters of extremely rare spirits from his vintage selection which they've decided to stop hoarding and start sharing.  A late 1950s Grand Marnier was cracked open this week.

On top of all of the fine food and drink, Joyeux Bordel is also going to be a hotspot for DJs, with Daniel Willis from The Clove Club heading up the music.  The inoffensive DJ booth is part of the furniture rather than a garish corner feature, which is always a good sign.

Sound good? I thought so.  Go and say hello from 6pm tonight. Happy Brothel everyone!

Email - 

Square Meal

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