We said the words gin, vermouth, absinthe and thyme, and what did we get in return? A goblet-full of hope for Hackney’s cocktail scene, served under a smoke-filled bell jar with pebbles and dried thyme. Yep, Looking Glass Cocktail Club impressed.
Wedged between the bulk-buy shoe shops and convenience stores where Shoreditch High Street and Hackney Road meet, Looking Glass Cocktail Club is all exposed brick walls and opulent furniture. Chaise lounges are in abundance here, surrounding small round tables lit by candles and giving this C.S. Lewis-inspired bar even more charm.
Customer experience is tantamount here, and the bar staff make it their job to create your perfect cocktail. Ordering off the menu, though, is equally pleasing. Our favourites had to be the Stolen Tart, a cinnamon- and sugar-rimmed coupe of cognac, Grand Marnier, egg and lemon curd, and the 1850s Old Man – the name itself had us sold, even before we tried this twist on a classic Old Fashioned. The crowd here is refreshingly varied – at one table, twenty-somethings are swigging beers and at another, a group of guys are clearly starting what will be a long and indulgent evening – frankly, we don’t blame them.
Best Bars tip: Go on a Monday night. The huge mirror on the back wall is opened up at 8.30pm to reveal a secret performance room. Twenty live acts played to an audience of about 50 cocktail-guzzling revellers (and a talent scout from The Voice). Without a doubt, one of the best starts to week we’ve had. Yes, we’ll definitely be jumping down this rabbit hole again.
— Millie Milliken, @milliemilliken