Not since the opening of Callooh Callay has such an exciting fairytale of a bar opened in east London. Looking Glass Cocktail Club takes you into the world of Lewis Carroll and douses you in luxurious cocktails. This new kid on the block could just become the next ‘It’ bar.
Victoriana has always been big in the world of luxury cocktail bars but few have really captured the essence of this time. Looking Glass Cocktail Club manages to leave its predecessors in the shade with a fantastic attention to detail. The lighting is kept dim and the furniture is a gorgeous array of mismatched patterned chairs, armchairs and sofas set around intricately designed mini coffee tables. The colour scheme is dark and brooding, punctuated by candles and cute light fixtures. Then there’s the bar – New York speakeasy in style and effortlessly cool. The Alice in Wonderland reference, as seen in sister bar The White Rabbit in Stoke Newington, is taken one step further here – push the large mirror on the wall and see what happens. Yes, here’s the rest of the venue, through the looking glass.
Looking Glass Cocktail Club has picked its location incredibly well. It’s set on the Hackney Road, far enough away from trendy east London haunts to ensure that the crowd isn’t diluted by party tourists. Instead, you will find an effortlessly cool mix of locals and those that have travelled from across London just to check this place out. As word gets out it’s sure to get busier. This is especially true as the venue is already laying on entertainment - think life drawing classes, DJ nights and Bloody Mary events, and you get the idea.
The drinks menu at Looking Glass Cocktail Club is exciting, enticing and well-priced – a rare combination in London. The bar utilises unusual ingredients like cardamom, rosemary, smoked vanilla, tea syrup, gingerbread and even a popcorn-infused bourbon. For all of this you can only expect to pay around a reasonable £7.50 a cocktail.
Signature drinks are playful and enjoyable. For example, the Shoreditch Cuppa (cardamom bitters, Sicilian lemon, pear cognac and tea syrup) is a delight – it’s cutely served in an ornate china teacup and tastes sweet with a fresh undertone of tea. Alternatively, a take on the Old Fashioned comes in the form of the Modern Gentleman. A little more expensive thanks to the 20-year-old rum contained within, it’s balanced by dark chocolate bitters and salted caramel. Make no mistake, though, this is a drink that packs a punch. Also good is the Looking Glass Fizz, which also contains some unusual ingredients in the form of gingerbread syrup mixed with gin. A playful take on cocktails doesn’t detract from quality and the result is, frankly, fantastic.
The Last Word
Looking Glass Cocktail Club is just what London needs right now. It’s fun, it’s cool, it’s well-priced. Admittedly, this theme has been done before, but it’s a tale well told at Looking Glass Cocktail Club.