Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Lush Life in Londontown

Hello my lovely fellow lushes! I am back from my birthday trip over to England and as usual it was an amazing parade of old friends and new drinks. I know that in the "Best Bars" section of this blog I have already professed my love for the mixologists at the exclusive Met Bar, but it's time to do it again. As much as I love the "lush life" so to speak, I rarely ever find myself sipping posh, complex cocktails anywhere else but London. NYC has a number of cocktail lounges but their drinks usually fail due to snobbery, pre-made mixes, and bizarre concoctions just for shock value's sake (Hey, bacon/elderflower/pepper infused everything, I am looking at you).

If you are in London and are lucky enough to find yourself on one of those fabled red bar stools, do not hesitate to put your full faith in my pals, the extremely fun and talented barmen: Lee and Lewis. I am so glad they are still there so that someone still knows how to make my beloved sweet and spicy "Rudealicious" that is no longer on the menu. I think I should start a lobbying effort to get it back on the menu as the "Renelicious." ;)  There is a whole new menu and everything is fabulous The Third Date(a refreshing smooth tequila drink) and the Vanilla Smash were the hits amongst my crew Saturday night when I gathered my ecclectic crew at the Met to pre-party before heading over to Shoreditch to see former-Met mixer Des at his new spot, Callooh Callay

LOVED his new place of work and he is still working the same magic as always. I laughed a bit that London's answer to NYC's Lower East Side also has a Rivington Street and the at-capacity crowds to match! We fought the crowds, carved out our own domain by the window and said hello to the coolest guy in the East with a shaker in his hand, Des. I settled on in to my Violette Streak , jammed to the finest in danceable indie rock and chatted with my crew that ranged from rockers to writers. A Violette Streal FYI is "A slug of Tapatio blanco tequila silenced with an attack of Creme de Violette, Dubonnet, lemon wedges and ginger ale."  Heavenly. Sadly this being England, places close way too early. 

We rounded out the weekend with a chill booze "tutorial" with Lewis when the Met was empty on a sunday late night. He opened my eyes to raisin-infused Johnnie Walker Black. I want to wish him all the luck in an upcoming Bacardi competition where his "Supper Club" drink is in the running. The concept is based off an elegant fruit and cheese board and it's a sweet dessert drink. It's got fig, froth and it's very own stencil. Fab! 

The last night out in the city I resurrected my love for Camden, that has over the years, gotten a lot more lame and commercial than when I first fell for it in 1999. I went to Proud,  the converted horse hospital that now is a music venue, art gallery, bar with the horse stalls redone as private drinking rooms. There was a Ramones cover band, lots of art about The Clash, cheap drinks and fun rocker types who introduced us to one of the few late-license places in London down the road. We were ready to get our party on until 3am, so Bartok here we come! It was a small bar with a nice red decor, great mash up DJ, cool crowd and a bit of dancing. Definitely check it out when you are looking for a place to meet some fun people past normal closing time.

So consider this my addendum to the "London" Section that is ever-evolving like the other pages. I can't wait to go back and check out the places I missed!

To all my friends in England, much love from NYC! One day I will show you how it's done here.

PS: If you ever find yourself being a Lush in Leeds, go to Hyde Park and Mojo. Hyde Park is for when you want to grab a pint and relive your days at University and Mojo is for when you want to get serious about rock, shots, and a slow gin fizz. 

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