The other day I was wondering if I go out for cocktails too often? And then I had a good laugh: Bwahahahahah. Shortly after this I was on my way to this enticing Speak Easy Bar in Smithfield. I guess I’m telling you everything you need to know when I say it’s a spin-off from The Nightjar.
They do not advertise their establishment much on the outside. There is a sign over the door but one first has to venture into the actual market building to find it. After deciding to go down Poultry Lane on a cold and dark night, I was convinced I will end up somewhere in cold storage together with some other stupid cows. After a few fretful seconds, I found the entrance and was ticked off the guest list. After passing the velvet curtain at the entrance I could tell I would like the style of this place. i was going down the dark blue staircase led by beautiful designed, art deco style wall lights. The downstairs area in itself is fairly large with a long bar to the right and a band stand and seating to the left. The walls are covered in wallpaper displaying a Victorian version of palm trees and exotic birds. The display cases which are scattered around the place show exotic nick nacks. It was also fairly dark. Apologies for the resulting dark pictures.
As usual I was on time, but my friend has some serious problems finding the place. To make myself comfortable I decide to go with a hot cocktails: Canton sounded intriguing as it has Jinzu; Lychee wine, Osmanthus syrup and Frozen longan as ingredients. How the frozen longan works in a hot drink will forever be a mystery to me. The prices per drink range from £12 to £16. When Canton was brought to my table, I was impressed with the pretty presentation and the taste. I have to admit, I was not impressed with the size of the drink, but this is not a Wetherspoons and clearly quality goes before quantity.
After my friend arrived, we ordered more drinks as well as Black truffle croquettes with huancaina sauce and some other nibbles. I have to be honest here … don’t bother with the food. It’s not memorable.
My friend had the Fernworthy which combines Plymouth Gin, Tasmanian Pepper infusion, Radish, Voatsiperifery, Beetroot Eau de Vie, Champagne and Borage honey. It doesn’t sound that great, but it was surprisingly delicious. The next drink for me was a Virgin Don. This made me giggle to myself, as I don’t believe my good friend Don would appreciate being called a Virgin. I know … I’m easily entertained. The Virgin Don included Naked Grouse, Coltsfoot syrup, Bäska Snaps, Tobacco Liqueur and ice in shape of a rose. It was the favourite of the night, with a nice kick to it and a hint of some dark spice. Maybe it was the Tobacco Liqueur.
I have to say I really enjoyed my time at the Oriole Bar. It got a bit too loud later on, when the band started, but up to that point we had an amazing time. I think I would have really enjoyed the band, as they were playing 1930’s songs, but I wanted to talk to my friend, as we hadn’t seen each other in ages, so the noise level was just not right anymore.
All in all a great cocktail bar. This is the right place if you want to have something a bit different and want to experience with your drinks. The atmosphere is dark and cosy and I think it would be a great place for a first or second date.
East Poultry Avenue
Smithfield Markets, EC1A 9LH