Drink, Shop & Do is so kitsch it hurts. One of London’s best-kept secrets is now out. Head here before everyone catches on.
Located around the corner from Kings Cross tube station, it’s easy to see why this achingly cool bar is rarely overly busy. Hidden off the main stretch on Caledonian Road, the venue looks more like a shop than a bar. Probably because it is. Through the main doors is a cute little shop filled with classic sweets, old school board games, clocks, mirrors, cups – everything a little independent knick knack shop should contain. Wander through the small shop floor however and you’ll find the bar. A gorgeously quaint area filled with mismatched retro furniture, random artwork strewn across the walls, big old-fashioned granny lamps, little coffee tables, comfortable sinking sofas and all manner of ornaments. Look carefully and you’ll also spy little price tags - everything here is for sale. Be careful not to get drunk and buy it all. A small bar sits in the middle of the room with a few bottles of spirits, cakes, a vat of stew or soup, beers and wine. It’s a dream living room.
A third area to the back is decked out in the same style as the rest and is the ‘do’ area – this is where the activities take place. Truly a Tardis. Oh, and one word of warning: when you head to the unisex toilets downstairs don’t accidentally stray into the basement sex shop. No, this isn’t part of their shopping experience. It’s their neighbour, Soho Sex Books. They give you ample warning via a number of clear signs. No excuses if you’re found wandering in here ‘by mistake’!
This is a place where big kids come to relive their childhoods and we’re talking BIG kids – kids now in their twenties and thirties. Board games are in demand and the random activities are enjoyed by all, from dot to dot disco and card making (complete with a lot of glue and glitter!) to poetry nights. This is a place to stop the pretence of being a grown up and loudly scream in frustration as you’re beaten at another game of Guess Who? The staff are trendy and extremely friendly and there are always enough of them to keep everything running smoothly. Given it looks more like a shop than a bar, it’s never so busy that you’re squashed into place and yet there’s always a bubbling atmosphere that busier bars fail to emulate. Watch this space though, the word is sure to spread.
The food at Drink, Do & Shop is easy and cheap. The stew or soup of the day is usually vegetarian. It comes in big bowls, is always hearty and it's served with two chunks of bread and a big slab of butter for just £5-£6.50. Otherwise, regularly changing pies and quiches are popular. Still, when living out your childhood fantasies you may as well forget dinner and jump straight in with slices of delicious cake (think treacle sponge, carrot cake and cheesecake covered in cream with extra gooey sauce) and old school sweets. Go on, mummy and daddy aren’t watching.
There isn't the longest drink list in London at Drink, Do & Shop but it satisfies the punters too busy giggling in the corner to get too liqueured up. A handful of cocktails are colourful and easy to drink (and include Snowballs!) and cost just £7. The beers come in bottles and are priced at the £3-£4 mark and wine is similarly priced with a few bottles also available by the glass. Seasonal drinks are big here, with winter warmers like mulled wine and hot cider particularly popular and they cost just £3 a glass.
The Last Word
This is what you imagined being an adult was like when you were a kid. You control the money so you can glue your fingers together whilst making glittery cards, play board games until after bedtime and spend all of your money on sweeties, before following up with five pieces of creamy cake and a colourful, sweet cocktail. Awesome.