Reverend JW Simpson is the latest cocktail bar to open its doors in Fitzrovia, an area fast becoming a favourite of mine for dinner and drinks. It’s not necessarily a name you’d expect for a cocktail bar, but as I discovered at the press launch last week this is no ordinary cocktail bar. Hidden below the buzz of Goodge Street it was once Reverend JW’s cosy apartment, as they got to work on gutting the place the designers discovered it remained practically untouched. Rather than tear it all down, they decided to pay homage to the Reverend and keep many of its original features.
At first it seemed strange to be in what was once a Reverend’s home, an evening of drinking cocktails ahead, but it does add warmth and something to talk about to your evening.
It’s a small and intimate space, illuminated by soft lighting and candles, furnished with comfy sofas that are retro enough to fit in but smart enough for a cocktail bar. Somehow it all sits comfortably with the Reverend’s past.
Cocktails are shaken at the bar and brought to you at your seat. Hotel bar service with the atmosphere of a private drinks party is their aim and I thought they did it nicely.
Owners Bourne & Hollingsworth pride themselves on offering high quality cocktails and they certainly do this with a twist at Reverend JW. At first glance the cocktail menu seemed somewhere between traditional and experimental. If you like mojitos, caipirinhas and other familiar classics like me this will take you out of your comfort zone (in a good way).
They served several cocktails from the menu throughout the evening. First up we had the ‘Port – Berry Stinger’ – Port, fresh mint leaves with a dash of sugar and blackberries.
I usually only have a token Port around Christmas but after trying this I could be persuaded to drink it year round. It does have a little bit of Christmas about it but it’s nice and fruity, and the mint adds freshness.
Next up the ‘Rebourne Royal’ – Gin, Lime and Elderflower with a bit of fizz.
As I like all of these ingredients it was no surprise that I enjoyed this one!
Then we tried the ‘Prune Manhattan’ – Rye Whiskey, Sweet Vermouth and a prune infusion.
Sounds like a pretty strange mixture doesn’t it? But the balance of ingredients seems to make it quite drinkable even if you’re not a whiskey drinker or prune fan.
Finally we had the ‘Mead Feast’ (left) – Mead, Basil, Honey, Quince Liqueur with lemon juice and bitter. And the ‘East 8 Spritz’ (right) – Aperol, pineapple juice, passion fruit with lime and a bit of fizz.
I’ve had Mead once and it was way too sweet on its own, but proving that they know how to mix their cocktails, the other ingredients made it very tasty. As for the East 8 Spritz, that went down well too!
After plenty of cocktail samples and a great evening organised by Kapranos PR, we headed home with a nice little place to come back to with friends.
Reverend JW would be great for dates, catching up with friends, and generally having a nice evening out. It’s an unusual setting but you’ll get used to it, especially after a few delicious cocktails.
What do you think? Will you be popping down to Fitzrovia to check it out?