With 16 bars across London and plans to expand further still, this chain of lively cocktail bars shows no signs of slowing down, much like its energetic staff. The King’s Cross outpost draws both an after work crowd of commuters and locals, looking for somewhere to host a party or have a fun night out. With a list of over 160 cocktail concoctions to choose from, the night is only going one way.
Just a few minutes’ walk from King’s Cross station, you’ll find this smart cocktail bar. There are a couple of small wooden tables out the front for smokers, and the entrance then leads into a large open room. To the right is the bar where mirrored shelves showcase a vast selection of spirits and liquors. A few stools at the bar provide ‘ringside’ seats and a view to mixologists showboating as they shake and muddle cocktails. Extra stools are dotted around the perimeter of the room and there's a large dance floor in the middle. Layered platforms with tables, beige banquettes and stool seating sit on the other side of the room. The ceiling is a textured, dark brown lacquer pattern reminiscent of that in a pub, while the walls are a bold contrast of gleaming white tiles. Almost full length floor-to-ceiling glass windows at the front of the bar add a tremendous sense of space, while flickering candles on tables, industrial low-lit lighting, and a red neon sign are the only real decorative additions giving the bar a trendy edge.
The Be At One chain owes its success to three entrepreneurs who all trained in TGI Fridays, and you can feel their influence upon super friendly staff who really seem to enjoy their shifts here. This contagious vibe means you could never really have a bad night here. Birthdays are catered for, and this place is just large enough to hire out exclusively for such events. The music is pretty much 80s hits all the way, and after a few cocktails, the dance floor definitely comes into its own. This is one of the only venues in this chain that hosts intimate live music evenings on Saturdays, too. There are also cocktail masterclasses for team-building exercises, hen nights or any old get-together.
Obviously this place is all about the cocktails, and as there is no food menu (although they do sell Pipers crisps and popcorn), it’s probably best to grab dinner before making your way through the exhaustive list of drinks. Cocktails start at £6.20 and rise up to £9.20 for the Champagne mixes, but a daily happy hour between 5pm and 7pm offering 2-for-1 cocktails is most welcome and there is even a downloadable phone app for an extended happy hour.
If you’ve never been to one of the bars, it’s worth trying the Oreo Cookie cocktail – crushed up Oreo cookies blended with Baileys, ice cream and creme de cacao. The creamy, sweet mix is surprisingly not in the least bit sickly and comes highly recommended by staff, too. There are classics and there are deviations, like the Caipiroska, a blend of vodka, lime and white sugar. It is potent but can easily be blended into a fruit version to tame it a little. Staff are keen to tailor each cocktail to your tastes and they ask you which spirit you like and the flavours you prefer so they can then make suggestions. With eight weeks of training, they know their stuff and it’s probably best to leave your choice up to them. Drinks aren’t decorated with quite the same flare, but when they’re in the happy hour, who’s quibbling? For those playing it safe, there are red and white wines, with the house Pinot Grigio at £16 a bottle, or £3-£5.50 a glass. A selection of about six different beers cost £4.50 each.
The Last Word
Yes, its a little bit cheesy. And yes, the drinks could do with a bit more of a garnish to look the part. But all in all, you’ll walk (or stagger) away having had a terrific night.