It seems like it’s been a long time since I had a great cocktail hour, I’ve had cocktails of course but I’m talking about well-mixed drinks with original ingredients. So when I was invited down to 5cc to enjoy their cocktails I snapped up the opportunity without hesitation. I’ll admit I was a little confused when they said to aim for The Exmouth Arms but one of the best things about London is that you can come across great finds in unexpected places.
I headed over to Exmouth Market with my friend Lucy, after about a ten minute walk from Farringdon underground we immediately spotted the first signpost of the bar’s location.
A great looking traditional pub, I was intrigued. So we headed in doors and as instructed went to the left, walked to the back of the pub, through an unmarked glass door and up the stairs. You know you’re in the right place if you see the cocktail bar sign at the top of the stairs.
Enter and you’ll be welcomed by a cosy little cocktail bar.
Full of dark wood, leather sofas, exposed brick and references to the past. It felt in-keeping with its downstairs neighbour but sophisticated enough for some smart cocktails. As it only hold about 30 or so drinkers it has a more intimate vibe, throw in the laid back soundtrack and wooden shutters and you’ve got a nice relaxing bar to enjoy a good drink or few.
We pondered over the menu for a while (you can find it on their website if you want to sneak a peek.) It was a pretty tough choice. I considered ‘The Forgotten Range’ first knowing they were in limited supply due to the methods involved in making the bespoke mixes, but I have a sweet tooth and tend to find cocktails from the past a bit too bitter or dry for my taste. So I concentrated on their classic cocktail menu.
Lucy ordered the Kanaloa – tropical spice and coconuts with a coconut porter and spiced rum. Her own description – like Christmas biscuits.
I had the Cosmo Daisy, a 1920s variation on the classic. I’d say not as bitter as the original, but it has a nice sweet/sour taste and is very drinkable.
We ordered another round and I got chatting to their mixologist Jeremy who was shaking up our drinks.
He obviously knows what he’s doing! Jeremy explained that they change the menu every three months, as they’ve been open since March you may find a selection of summery flavours blended into the menu if you visit over the next few months.
We were pretty happy with the current menu though. Lucy went for the Lavender Fizz (above), home infused gin and lavender sugar. Smooth and refreshing. I went for the Koko Verde, kiwis, coconut rum, melon liquor and lime topped with lemonade. Tropical and tasty.
Thirsty for a cocktail yet? I know I am.
After two rounds, we thought a we’d have one more for the road. Lucy’s order – the Right Hand, a twist on the Negroni.
Mine – Li Chi, lychee liqueur with raspberries and more coconut rum (my weakness for rum evident by now.)
Our favourites? Lucy enjoyed the Kanaloa the most. I’m torn between Koko Verde and Li Chi as they were both full of original flavours and very drinkable.
As you can tell we probably could have drank our way through the menu, but when it comes to great cocktails it’s pretty good to leave on a high. We didn’t have any food but it might be worth mentioning they serve oysters here, straight up and simple or with a twist.
Tasty cocktails and friendly service, it’s a great little place if you’re in the area for dinner and fancy a good drink, or you’re looking for a laid-back place to enjoy cocktails with friends. It’s also pretty great for a date, get the best of both worlds with a beer in the pub and a cocktail in the bar.
The average price per cocktail is about £10. If you can’t make it to Exmouth Market they have another bar under the Well and Bucket in Shoreditch (see the website for more details.)
Have you found any great cocktail bars in unexpected places?
5cc kindly offered a few complimentary drinks, as ever my opinions are my own and this has not influenced my review.