The Cocktail Trading Company — cosy pub vibes, party drinks and an intimate atmosphere tucked underneath Central & Co. This tiny basement bar is an incredible addition to the Soho drinking scene, where you can go have a few relaxed cocktails from some of the industry’s most talented bartenders. The three chaps who birthed this venture cut their teeth at the best bars going, so if you’re keen for a cocktail masterclass — these are the most capable hands around.
We say you should dutifully work your way through the drinks menu — chatting with your all-too-friendly server for recommendations. One of our favourites is The Scout’s Honour with 86 Co. tequila, lime juice, smoked marshmallow syrup, toasted marshmallows and a garnish that’s served in a tin (we’ll leave what’s inside as a surprise). And if that doesn’t satiate your sweet tooth, get the Tu-Whit-Tu-Whoo-Woo, a twist on a noughties classic that’s made with Stoli vodka, sage, peach and cranberry syrup then topped with prosecco and garnished with candy floss. Pure glee. If you’re keen for more savoury sips, try the Welcome to Kentucky, Have a Nice Day. Served in a takeaway container and topped with crispy bacon-flavoured egg noodles (seriously), this is a Jim Beam number with ginger, plum, yuzu and matcha tea. It’s absolutely scrumptious. And if the foodie garnishes haven’t filled you up, you can order sharing plates from the upstairs bar. Go healthy with a raw veg platter or treat yourself with some sticky squid.
The lighting is pretty remarkable here, and they can adjust it per table — depending on how your night is going. By the end of our evening, disco lights and throwback tunes were the name of the game.
Best Bars tip: Try to book ahead, since there’s only so many tables. And make sure to keep your night clear, because we reckon you’ll be hanging round until closing time … we sure did.
— Sasha Filimonov, @SashaSips