This crowd-pleaser of a bar has garnered enough attention in its opening weeks to already have a following of regular rooftop revellers.
Planting itself firmly on Singer Street, this new bar to the Old Street area only gives away its presence by a buzzy little bee on a sign above the door, and by noise carrying down from the rooftop, several stories up. As you enter, a glamorous tone is set that isn’t often seen in these parts, with a winding staircase, metallic chequerboard wall and gold chain chandelier. Once up to the first floor, a darkened room is filled with mirrored walls, partitions and furnishings with a black, gold and purple colour coding, making for one glitzy venue. Out to one side is a patio area, ideal for smokers, but the more adventurous will continue to climb two outdoor spiral staircases up to the roof. On the roof terrace is a wooden bar and plenty of cushioned, lounge seating. Greenery is lit up by fairy lights by night, making this a subtle and simple terrace enjoyed for its positioning overlooking Shoreditch.
Golden Bee certainly places itself apart from the Shoreditch set of edgy bars teeming with hipsters. This venue doesn’t even try to enter into the competition, instead offering a haven for the masses at the weekend and an after-work drinks spot for those hoping to escape the judging eye of the discerning fashion followers this area attracts. On warm days the roof terrace is a popular spot and can get very lively as the evening goes on, with plenty of boisterous flirting to be had – if that’s your thing! Bar staff may be too busy showing off their mixing skills to realise you’re waiting, but once they have finished showboating they are perfectly pleasant. Inside, the atmosphere is just as buzzing (excuse the pun), with funky house and R&B music spun on the decks and cocktail mixologists shaking up a storm.
Perhaps indicative of the type of person the Golden Bee attracts, the Made in Old Street cocktail (£8) seems to shift very well. This acquired taste is made with Haribo infused vodka, mango juice, apple juice and blue curacao and is topped with Haribo sweets. A more sophisticated choice may be the Apple Crumble (£8) instead, a spiced rum cocktail mixed with apple, lime and cinnamon syrup. This warming drink is out of the ordinary but less of an assault on your tastebuds. Flavoured Mojitos (£8) and Martinis (£6) are all mixed with fresh ingredients and a good deal of care. And the honey and passion fruit Margarita (£6) is deliciously sweet and refreshing in the summer months. For the more special occasions, some showy champagnes are behind the bar, such as Dom Perignion (£199.99) and Krug (£350), but some prosecco selections are more affordable at between £24 and £27 a bottle. The drinks list is capped off with the regular spirits, lagers and ciders.
The Last Word
Golden Bee could perhaps be a bit of a mainstream taste. But maybe that's no bad thing in an area saturated by hipster hangouts. In fact, Golden Bee may just be the perfect antidote for the after-work crowd, its roof terrace the definitive honey trap.