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Callooh Callay information

Welcome to the upside down world of Callooh Callay, a quirky bar with lots to offer. It's the ideal destination to catch up with friends and check out some of the interesting decor including a mirrored lounge, mismatched furniture and a chandelier hanging from a crane.

Ranked #71 of 2091 pubs & bars in London

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Opening Hours
Opening Hours
MON

18:00 - 00:00, 18:00 - 00:00

TUE

CLOSED

WED

18:00 - 00:00

THU

18:00 - 01:00

FRI

18:00 - 01:00

SAT

18:00 - 01:00

SUN

18:00 - 00:00

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What did you think of Callooh Callay?

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Callooh Callay reviews



By Peter R.

The bar is nicely designed, although their upstairs bar is nothing special, in fact it was quite disappointing. My friends had mixed feelings about the cocktails but I really liked two of the four I ordered. Its a nice bar for after work drinks but after a while, we got bored and we left as there is no dancing area. The waitresses were nice - a big improvement from my previous visit where the waitress was moody and rude as mentioned in someone's review below and surprisingly she still works there! Luckily she didn't serve us. The food menu could be better. Overall its a nice bar and cocktails are nice, but its not my destination of choice.


By Josh W.

I came here a few months ago for my partners sisters birthday, and though the venue itself was nice (decked out nicely, I especially liked the wardrobe access to the rear of the bar) the cocktails were rather pricey for the size of them, guaranteed they were nice, but for the size I would have felt more comfortable spending at least ?2 less a drink.


By Taylor H.

Went there on a Friday night to celebrate a friends Birthday. The booking process was easy and they were very accommodating about having more members in our party than first booked. Atmosphere was nice but the whole wardrobe thing was less 'wow' than I expected, and the cocktails were pretty flavourless for almost ?10 each. Nice decoration but stick to beer if you want to enjoy your drink!


By Not A.

Atrocious cocktails, really really poor standard. Went here for a first date on a Sunday afternoon, lovely interior in a great location but spoiled by the prices for quality of drink ratio, ?10 for a sloppy load of rubbish. I can honestly say is the worst I have ever had, I wouldn't have left this review if it wasn't for your ridiculous prices, could have had a 3 course meal and drinks for that price. Disgrace.


By Spencer J.

I went here for a friend's birthday last weekend. We had a limited menu so weren't able to try the Cassette Tape drinks. The service was pretty good, the drinks were great. The only thing I would say is that it was really busy and my friends and I had to queue before getting in, but the doormen were polite about it so we didn't mind too much. I don't live locally but if I'm ever in east London again I'll definitely come by to try the drinks that weren't available on the evening.


By Dan

Poor quality cocktails, but even worse staff. Pay attention to other reviewers comments about poor service! It was 6pm on a week night, the bar was empty. We had one round of terrible, over-priced drinks served by a grumpy bar girl. We got the bill and paid it minus the service charge. What fool pays 12.5% on a ?7 watery vodka and coke?! She was outraged after having words with us about not paying the charge - so much so that she threw our tray of money across the bar. Outrageous prices, outrageous behaviour... Who would ever choose to go back?!


By Singh V.

The bar itself is nice. The smoking area and toilets are cool (With the cassette tapes on the wall)And too be honest that's as good as it gets.This whole idea of entering to the next bar/seating area through a wardrobe is a total hype! Its just a normal door... you just walk through...with a wardrobe type exterior. The reason why i gave this bar 1 star is ALL due to the customer service and the rudeness of the staff. Pushing past customers, passive aggressively telling you to move (no please or thank you)I had booked a booth at Callooh Callay for my birthday. I booked the booth for 10 people. When arriving to the bar, i was made to wait for the booth. Finally me and my mates all tucked into the booth with our drinks, having a good catch up. Then i realised 3 extra people had turned up (Partners of friends) I thought, oh this should be fine as we all fit in the booth comfortably apart from 1 person, so we kindly asked for ONE chair for the end of the table. (Where there was space)This is when the bar manager realised that we had more than 10 and demanded 3 of our party drink in the other bar..... Because OF COURSE we want to be separated on my birthday.The manager had NO customer service skills, he was rude, pretentious and unaccommodating. He acted like they had NEVER had a party come in with a few extras before. It was not like i had 5, 6 or 7 extras!We then spoke to the head manager and he seemed a bit nicer but still wouldn't budge. It was not a capacity limit issue. It was JUST because they only seat 10 at that particular table. They didn't even seem to care that it was my birthday and we would of spent the whole night there if they gave us ONE more chair. RidiculousWe finished our drinks and left. I will never ever go back there. We went to the Elbow rooms, which i would highly recommend! Lovely staff and music.


By R S.

Used to be a good bar but now it is really rude and pretentious. Hen do's and leaving parties usually book the tables and the staff make you feel really unwelcome if you haven't booked. The cocktails have also gone downhill. There are much better places in the area.


By Malka K.

Absolutely terrible customer service, this bar is incredibly pretentious and staff are rude and arrogant. Also, there is nothing special about the cocktails- they are weak and stingy; there are certainly better cocktail places out there. The discretionary service charge is a joke- we were harassed to buy drinks by a rude waitress who rolled her eyes and said "why is everyone not drinking"-because we were sipping at our own pace and attempting to enjoy the company of our friends (it was a birthday event) and not particularly enjoying the weak, tiny cocktails in the first place. The waitress was trying to push us to buy overpriced (at ?9plus a go) cocktails rather than having any attempt at customer care. As someone who has worked in the hospitality sector, I found this behaviour outrageous. A year ago, the bar was good; friendly bartenders who would listen to your requirements, gramophones to drink out of- quirky and fun. However, now it's heading down the tacky route with drinking bowls instead of the gramophones, and cheap-looking menus. They also told the head of our party that a ?10 charge for any person under nine people required to book would be charged (upon what legal basis I do not know). All in all, an experience I would not repeat.


By Dominic C.

I celebrated my birthday here on 26 march, with a pre-booked table for 15. amazing service and drinks, although i didn't fancy your chances of getting in without a booking. wonderful place though. can't praise it highly enough!


By Sherri M.

In this instance, the management was wrong. The name is self explanatory. Service charge is the gratuity that is supposed to go to those who have served you. In some cases the amount will go straight to the person who has served you personally, in most cases, service charge will be split between all staff, including kitchen, excluding management, and would be done on a monthly basis. As of last year there were legislation's put into play about the distribution of service charge and gratuity (which is all discretionary)i have worked in this industry for years. A tip would be to never pay service charge or gratuity on a card machine. If possible, always leave a cash tip. This was, the service charge will not be taxed, and you money will go directly to the person you want it to go to.


By Rachel P.

Love this bar, I think maybe the staff are more stressed than arrogant, it's always busy on weekends so I book when possible. I live in Shoreditch and this is my favourite cocktail bar, only downside is how packed and hot it is on weekends. Great cocktails, suprisingly good food. Favourite place to sit is by the windows. Good place for a treat or a date xx


By Thomas H.

To avoid these situations, I always asked for the service charge to be removed, it is discretionary, so I don't need to pay for it. I also find it abusive for a bar/restaurant to decide for me how much I should tip. In most cases I would have the manager coming to the table asking if everything was ok, if there was any problem. Usually I would leave a tip in cash. And that was what I did during the 4 years that I lived in London. What do you have to lose? 5 minutes? I really believe that as a principle every one should do it. Why accept being imposed a charge that you don't have to pay for?


By Ria S.

Hi, I used to work at a restuarant that had a service charge - as waiters and waitresses we didn't receive any of this amount. Customers are able to refuse to pay the service charge and pay a tip directly to their waiter/waitress which they can keep for themselves. It's such a shame that customers are not aware of this situation (I wasn't before I worked at this establishment). Thanks for the review!


By Alicia C.

Confused. Comhad a lovely evening there with fairly decent cocktails and great waitress. Spoiled at the end however. We happily paid over the 12.5% 'discretionary service charge' on the bill in order to tip the waitress, and didn't understand why she looked so upset and accused us of not leaving a tip for her. When we double-checked her sums and pointed out we'd left her more than the automatically added amount she told us that this wasn't for her. When raised with the manager we were told that this 'discretionary service charge' was actually given to the management for our use of the table and the right to have drinks served to us there, and that we should therefore tip the waitress in addition to this if we were happy with her service. Surely this isn't right? Surly the 'service charge' is for the service from the waitress and/or a pot that all the staff share in addition to their wages? Was this lovely (eastern European) girl being exploited by the employers of this otherwise great bar? Or can we really be levied a 'discretionary service charge' that is in reality a hidden 'cover charge' that results in an additional 25% on our expenditure that night? Can anyone clarify the legal situation here? Thanks


By Mark G.

Went to Calooh Callay for the launch of their new summer menu. And what a menu it is. This bar just keeps upping its game and the quality of cocktails served was absolutely first rate. For the uninitiated the menu may be a little daunting with lots of less common ingredients being used, making it difficult to imagine what the finished cocktail will be like unless you are a regular cocktail drinker. However, if like me you enjoy nothing better than a night of well balanced, interesting and delicious cocktails then this bar is an absolute must. The service is also very good and the bar snacks are an absolute must as well, very delicious. I cant recommend this bar highly enough.


By Sharon M.

The music and seating/lighting was lovely. However the staff were rude and pretentious and the drinks are expensive. ?15 for two drinks (spirits and mixer) doubles which was assumed, and not asked. Not impressed and would not go there again or recommend it as a venue for friends.


By Too T.

I've been put of going to this bar by the responses posted to any negative comment that has been written! Only the bar owner/manager would bother to do this, and this smacks of desperation. If your bar is as cool as the others say, you need to take the rough with the smooth!!


By Peter G.

So, just out of curiosity, you are posting a negative review about a bar that you haven't even been to? Sounds like you are just bad mouthing the place because you weren't allowed in... I've been in Callooh Callay with 3 other male friends and we had no problems at the door, maybe you guys just looked a bit dodgy... Any way, Merry Xmas


By Mayte W.

I had my birthday at Callooh Callay on Saturday night, and I found the staff fantastic, from dealing with arranging an area beforehand to the waitress service on the night!

They were professional and friendly and contributed to the great atmosphere in the bar that night.

Yes, it is a 'design' bar in many respects, but it is quirky and doesn't appear to take itself too seriously.

Moreover, it doesn't seem to suffer from the 'pretentious' affliction of so many bars in Shoreditch. It was a fun night, a chilled out and friendly crowd, and great staff.

Many of my mates have already said they'll be back, I certainly will!


By James H.

Callooh Callay initially caught our eye with its slick decor. Unfortunately the experience was not something I'd like to repeat.

After a considerable time in the queue, the bouncers for no discernible reason plain ignored 3 of us in the front and began to usher the group of 4 (3 girls and a guy) in.

After this, they turned to us and asked us what we wanted, to which we replied that we'd like to go in please, biting back any snide responses describing why we'd been in the queue for half an hour.

They replied to this saying "sorry, we don't let guys in". Now, as much as this annoyed us, I might have put up with it, if they hadn't just let my girlfriend in (she was in the group behind us) and refused to accept that we were in the same cohort.

Not the best way to build up a customer base for a new bar. We promptly got everyone together and left, heading back to the far less pompously rude bars back on brick lane.


By Dave J.

What a plebian this reviewer really is. To paraphrase, you would like a "classy do", but are astonished that you weren't allowed "L-plates"??

Maybe you should try out a career as a comedian. Your hen do was always going to end up at a local wetherspoons with you being sick on a strippers g-string.

I am in no way affiliated to this bar, but I am intending on visiting for my fiancee's birthday and we will have a great and actually classy affair if the rest of these reviews are corect.


By Tommy J.

This bar is bst in its type!

Not going for a massive club feel like so many in that area (hoxton pony) or trying to look like a pub which is actually a cocktail bar (last days of decadence).

This bar rocks its wacky and mad but with best drinks in London.I went with a group of 5 of us for pre club drinks not long after it was opened and we were blown away.

The tequila is drinkable (a rarity in bars these days that just seem to supply tasteless plonk) the new cocktails are creative and the classics well delivered.

Well done everyone at the bar and props to Sean who used to fill my glass at Lab for doing a cracking job !


By J B.

(Attended once, 11-2 Sat night, with mixed group of 8).

A stylish and atmospheric bar no doubt, but not particularly pleasurable unless you've booked a private table in the back or are mates with a staff member (very common annoyance in Shoreditch).

Unless you qualify for one of these areas, there is hardly any place to stand, let alone sit.

Its a cocktail bar. Beer drinkers are badly catered for and cocktails are served in half pint mugs.

Original? perhaps, good value for money? definitely not!

The location, late opening and lack of a queue or cover charge all mean I'm likely to go again.

But only with a smaller group or with a reservation.JB


By B H.

My bridesmaid tried to book Callooh Callay for my understated small hen's night.

Being totally adverse to all things tacky and hen-night-related I wanted a classy do, so opted for a cooking class at a nearby location followed by cocktails at Callooh Callay.

Imagine my horror when they replied to my bridesmaid with a list of 'rules' about hen's nights!"

1) You must not be wearing any of the accoutrements of a hen do - veils, l-plates etc ... the doormen will not let anyone in dressed as such!

2) We ask that you respect the environment of the bar - we consider ourselves to be a stylish, fun, relaxed cocktail bar - we want all of our patrons to have a brilliant night, so we simply ask that you are not too rowdy.

"I beg your pardon? Who do they think they are? Stylish, fun, relaxed? Um, try narcissistic, autocratic and uptight.

I'm not interested in trying to host a celebration at a stuffy dictatorial venue.


By Maria W.

I'm absolutely amazed that we are all talking about the same place!

The decor is down to personal taste and yes I agree with'There are too many vainglorious bars in the area' and this is certainly not one of them.

It must be increasingly difficult to come up with brand new ideas for decor and this has hit the mark for me.

I loved the cocktail mix-do we go out to specifically get tipsy on less than ?40.

The staff were delightful, sevice great and the atmosphere was dynamic.


By Gordon J.

Not sure what this place is aiming for, but whatever it is, it misses the mark by a mile. Really poor quality cocktails chucked together badly.

If your menu says the Afternoon Twee is with Hendricks gin, why are you using Bombay Sapphire?

They were missing too many key ingredients by 8pm on a Saturday night. Amateur.

The barman who served us a few times really had no clue,he cracked a hole in a glass and didn't even notice - continued mixing til the shards of glass on the bar were pointed out to him, then looked like I'd insulted his mother.

Waiters heavy handed when they brush you aside as they do table service, and you better keep hold of your drink as they seem to remove what they themselves deem 'empties' without a word.

The 'bar' area at the front of the venue is just hectic and uncomfortable.

Door staff were exceptionally friendly though, full marks to them. DJ was good too.

Well overpriced for what you get - first time I've been in a bar, spent ?40, and not even tipsy.


By Ashlee D.

Had birthday drinks the other night with several friends. Good service despite it being a busy Friday night and EXCELLENT cocktails! I recommend the Hibiscisaurus! Will definitely be going there again, had a wonderful night and cannot recommend it enough.


By Claire G.

Went there on Sat 30th May for my birthday, had a great time in there, just a shame we couldn't have stayed longer!

staff were great and really attentive - we were running slightly late but they still held our table for us!

drinks were delicious- actually in love with the gramophone and the big bowl of mad hatter cocktail!!

great place to start off the night, really cosy interior with a great atmosphere. definitely want to go back :)


By James M.

Went last week, very average place, offers nothing that everyone hasnt seen before.

Woudnt go back and certianly wouldnt recommend. Plenty of nicer places to go.


By David D.

AWSOME! It finished, just it started...rivers of liquid courage run through my veins... Fun crowd, lively atmosphere, the drinks were dangerous, definitely one to go back to!


By Joey R.

I went to this bar last night and it was amazing! Fantastic, welcoming staff who genuinely seemed interested in making the cocktails as perfect as possible.

Also, The decor being a bit different adds a some sparkle to an increasingly identikit part of London.Well done Callooh Callay!


By Matthew H.

I went for the first time last night. Nice quirky interior, incredibly friendly staff and good cocktails. A pleasant addition to Shoreditch's saturated bar scene and definitely one I'd revisit.


By Hassan A.

Tried it out on Saturday. Nothing special, seen it all before. Seems gimmicky, as if someone's gone to a junk shop and stuck everything on the wall. The staff a little arrogant, think they know more than you. My thoughts are that its banking on people who are impressed by a bit of tat and the chandelier loving brigade.


By Edward B.

I've been to this bar 4 or 5 times now with various groups of people, and every time i've been greeted by the most friendly knowledgable staff. They've gone out of their way to help seat us, or allowed us to try samples of different brandies and whiskeys to help us make decisions. It's completely non-pretentious (compared to what a lot of Shoreditch is used to), the decor is fabulous, and if it weren't be for the slightly high prices, i'd be in there every night!


By Ben D.

Very cool bar, loved the decor and the bar staff knew their cocktails. The back room was easily big enough for a good size party. Walking through the wardrobe is a great touch.


By Natalia W.

I went to Callooh Callay last night and enjoyed every minute. The staff were really friendly but not to much that its annoying, they were really informative when i didn't know what i fancied to drink. The interiors are fantastic, I want to go back just to see the stuff I missed the first time. I tasted a couple of dishes off the tasting menu and they were both delicious, would definately eat there again. All round loved it!


By Kevin D.

Exciting Venue, great atmosphere and good staff. Beer was good quality although I didn't get involved with the cocktails or food on this occasion - I'll post again when I've tried one of their Bloody Sunday roasts!


By Belinda R.

Callooh Callay is a must-visit cocktail bar in the heart of Shoreditch, which boasts an award-winning array of drinks, gloriously eccentric surroundings and plenty of excitement whether it?s a Tuesday evening or a Saturday night.

The Venue
Located just off Curtain Road on the cobbles of Rivington Street, Callooh Callay is right at the epicentre of Shoreditch nightlife. On entering the dark and debauched room, prepare to discover a topsy-turvy world in which the walls are made from 80s cassette tapes and vintage accessories decorate the interior. Don?t be fooled that this is all ? you enter the back bar via a mirrored Narnia-esque wardrobe door at the back of the room and there?s also a secret Jubjub bar for which entry is only granted to ?discerning drinkers?.

The Atmosphere
Cool and chaotic with plenty of quirky appeal, Callooh Callay ticks all the boxes if you like a little extra zing to your cocktail drinking. Staff are skilled, chatty and fun in equal measure and eager to recommend you a drink from the Pantone styled menu. Clientele range from post-work media and fashion type drinkers to couples on a date to large parties who have rented out a section of the back bar for some serious debauchery. As a result the atmosphere is thrilling and buzzing ? you can?t help but have fun here.

The Food
Callooh Callay offers a limited range of bar snack-style food ? choose from a trio of burgers (?10.50), which include classic beef with a fried egg, lamb and pear with mint mayo and blackbean and sweetcorn, or a ?hot diggity dog? (?7.50). Alternatively, if you fancy something smaller you can opt from the Picks & Nibbles menu, which includes beer battered chips, onion rings, fried and salted corn, Scotch eggs and a Russian roulette of olives (meaning there?s chillis involved), all for around the ?2.50??6 mark.

The Drink
You?d be a fool not to get a cocktail here. This is what Callooh Callay does best so prepare to be blown away by the choice and quality of the offerings here. If you like your liquor strong and sexy then opt for the Eastern Belle ? Woodford Reserve bourbon is shaken with China China, fresh raspberries, lime juice and maple syrup (?8.50) - but if you fancy a sweeter, fruitier option then the Electric Ladyland (?9) is both very popular and very palatable; 42 Below Passionfruit vodka with fresh tarragon, raspberries and blackberries. Other excellent options are the ?French Bank?, which includes Banks rum, shaken with lime juice, pomegranate molasses, lemon juice, egg white and pink peppercorns (?9.50), and the Fennelmonal (?8.50), which is light and refreshing, containing Martini Bianco with wild nettle cordial, fennel bitters and Prosecco. Alternatively, of course, there is a decent range of wine (available from ?18-?30 a bottle) and a very limited beer selection, with only one Estonian beer, Viru, for ?4.50 a bottle.

The Last Word
If you love your cocktails and want to go somewhere completely different for a few hours that's still just a stone?s throw from the buzzing Shoreditch night scene, then make sure you step into the wonderful world of Callooh Callay. Trust us, it?s utterly magical.

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