By Christian Rose-Day.
A few weeks ago I proffered my opinion on the best new old bar in Shoreditch. On Thursday of last week I was invited to the launch of another new Shoreditch bar, The Nightjar.
Shoreditch is fast becoming an area I cant seem to leave. Although I (am pretty sure I) reside in south London, I’ve been out in Shoreditch no less than 5 times in the last two weeks. It just keeps calling me back and I honestly admit, The Nightjar is the 2nd best new cocktail bar in Shoreditch.
And last Thursday was probably the 5th best Thursday I’ve ever had. I would’ve said it was the 4th best Thursday I’ve ever had, but only if I could’ve started judging after 4pm.
The good friend who was accompanying me that Thursday - who I hadn’t seen for a while - had grown a moustache. Probably the 8th best moustache I’ve ever seen. His new look was particularly fortuitous considering the retro vintage persona of The Nightjar, and, indeed, when the bar began to fill up with like-minded freeloaders like us, it appeared some of those present had donned a costume for the occasion. For my chum, this was the number 1 coincidental hairgrowth of all time. I, on the other hand, was sporting the 3rd worst hairstyle ever (the other two were also present that Thursday night, oddly enough), and stuck out like a sore thumb; the 4th most sore thumb in history.
Luckily, nobody really seemed to notice as we’d arrived too punctually (the sign on the door had only just been fitted) and the busy staff were busying themselves with the final preparatory touches. (The entrance, by the way, is the 3rd hardest entrance to find in Shoreditch, in keeping with its Prohibition speakeasy style. As a clue, though, look for the dark door between a Kafeteria with a ‘K’ and a Cafeteria with a ‘C’).
The bar itself was filled with inviting contrasts. The soothing difference between the matt finishes - soft, soft brown leather and walls - and the shiny surfaces - very professionally-made mirrors and golden ceiling - were the 2nd best example of modern Art Deco I’d seen in 2010.
Soon enough, the band - the filthy swingsters, Topshelf Jazz - began to play. Despite their ragtime, boogaloo rhythm, they were definitely one of the top 10 noisiest bands I’d ever seen, and easily the 2nd loudest band I’ve seen underground. They were also the 3rd most amusing band I’ve ever seen, jokingly interacting amongst themselves both during and between songs, plus alternating between various types of comedy hat.
My pal and I decided to work our way chronologically through the evening’s concise list of special cocktails. We started with the pre-Prohibition Morning Glory Fizz - a moreish combination of Scotch whisky, absinthe, egg white and champagne which was the best cocktail of the night - and ended with the modern Nightjar signature, the Ladybird - Rhum orange, Belgian truffle liqueur, Caribbean spices and orange bitters. Although table service was swift, delightful and courteous, the regularity of the samples was hindered by the voracious appetite of the gleeful crowd, and the lightning-quick staff could not keep up. Let’s hope this is just a teething problem, especially as a light Mediterranean grazing menu is available from now on.
Our evening got better and better when, again fortuitously, we positioned ourselves in such a way as to warrant conversation with complete strangers; a practice that was prevalent in the Prohibition period, no doubt, but a practice that has fallen to about 12th in the all-time list of ‘things to do in a cocktail bar’ these days.
To our right was a young Swedish lady (blonde, naturally) who was not only winsome but fascinating to boot. She is the CEO and Founder of a company called Mutewatch AB which manufactures incredible touch-sensitive watches; one of which she was able to demonstrate to us that night. The 2nd best watch demonstration I’ve ever seen (and easily the coolest watch I've ever seen).
When our new Swedish friend disappeared into the night we began chatting over cocktails with the two young ladies to our left - Michelle from Camden and her friend Holly - who were at The Nightjar launch for reasons similar to our own. Thus, we struck an accord with Michelle from Camden and her friend Holly, and continued to chat with them for the remainder of the evening. Towards the end, Michelle had this to say about The Nightjar: “Lively, great music, and the cocktails are delicious. Good fun for a bit of a boogie too.”
The intimate stage at The Nightjar has a tidy upcoming schedule of traditional jazz, blues, swing, tap, vintage style and cabaret song so music lovers will see this bar as their 3rd most important thing to do this month. I imagine The Nightjar will also be particularly popular with late night cocktail revellers and those who work long hours within the bar industry.
So, overall, the 5th best Thursday I’ve ever had, at the 2nd best new cocktail bar in Shoreditch; in my opinion.
To discover more of the best bars in Shoreditch, follow this link.