Published on November 22, 2012 | by Mikkel Stern-Peltz


Cocktails at Nightjar

The Nightjar bar [Nightjar]

Rating: ★★★★★

Only a small bronze plate on a nondescript black door gives away the location of the third-best bar in the world. Hidden on the bustling City Road, Nightjar is a cocktail connoisseur’s dream, inspired by the “speakeasy” of the American Prohibition-era.

Nightjar’s Art Deco bar room – complete with copper ceiling, and mirrors decorated with stylised nightjar-birds – instantly sends you back in time to the 1920s, with a ragtime and jazz soundtrack to match. Having recently placed third on Drinks International’s “World’s 50 Best Bars”-list, Nightjar is the cocktail equivalent of a three Michelin-star restaurant, and has some of the best bartenders and cocktails in the world.

The bar’s menu spans the history of the cocktail, with sections devoted to pre-Prohibition, Prohibition, and Post-War drinks, as well as a Nightjar signature section for contemporary concoctions, such as the bitter and rich Nederland Negroni.

All of the cocktails have a Nightjar twist, and the menu overflows with Nightjar’s homemade infusions, bitters, and molecular gastronomic touches.

Grab a seat at the bar, and enjoy the show as the white coat clad bartenders expertly shake, stir, and swizzle their way through extravagant creations, finishing them with a flurry of over-the-top garnishes.

Bitters-soaked meringues and flamed pine cones are just a few of the odd decorations you will find on your drink – at Nightjar the visual impression of the cocktails is as spectacular as the flavours. The Nightjar ‘Ti’ Punch, chilled with dry ice, served in a beautiful Art Deco teapot, steam pouring out of the spout and seeping from the lid, is a spectacle to behold.

The exquisite cocktails are complimented perfectly by the bar’s atmosphere, created by the dim lighting and cabinets packed with vintage cocktail paraphernalia. Nightjar is a great place for a date, with cosy alcoves available out of sight of the other patrons and a stage where live music is played on most weekends.

Despite the sophistication of the menu the staff is decidedly unpretentious, and you don’t have to know the difference between a Corpse Reviver #1 and #2 to appreciate the craftsmanship.

With cocktails from £9, this is not the place to go when you’re on your last tenner of the month. However, if you love cocktails, or just prefer a few nice drinks to getting wasted on Tesco wine, a night at Nightjar is definitely worth it.

Nightjar, 129 City Road, Greater London, EC1V 1JB. Open times : Friday & Saturday 6pm – 3am Thursday 6pm – 2am Sunday – Wednesday 6pm – 1am

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