This one’s a little out of the way, but so worth a visit. Stepping into The Shrub and Shutter feels like being in a giant terrarium – there are plants, the flicker of candles, slates on the walls and metal cans decorating the shelves and ceiling. The menus are on the wall, and they’ll catch your attention real quick: what’s growing in this bar is one helluva cocktail list.
The “drinks program” changes often, but with over 20 drinks to choose from, there are some regulars and always plenty to quench your thirst. The Brixton Buyers Club is great to start with – slightly fruity with earthy flavours coming from the sage and cardamom, but still easy-drinking. Like most drinks at this bar, it comes with a side of nibbles – here, some pineapple cubes and tiny pieces of ham. You Can’t Handle Chartreuse will blow your mind a little, and the Memento comes with a welcome theatrical touch in the form of – you guessed it – a Polaroid. It’s difficult to stop writing about the drinks, but the food helps: try the soft shell crab sandwich or gorge on a rib-eye. All ends of the food spectrum are covered.
The Shrub and Shutter wants itself to be a neighbourhood cocktail bar and despite a seriously impressive offering, manages to do just that. It’s inviting and friendly, and encourages discovery in a way that’ll probably turn a “just one drink” visit into an all-day affair. Frankly, worse could happen.
Best Bars tip: Nip to the back – there’s plenty more space for sitting with big groups, and an outdoors area for smokers and summer nights.
— Gaëlle Laforest, @gaellelaforest