Friday, June 02, 2017

Bar review: THE REDCHURCH BAR (Shoreditch)

The last time I had cocktails using a Groupon deal with my friend Rebecca was The Escapologist in Covent Garden, which, despite a customer who rudely pushed in in front of me, was a thoroughly enjoyably evening. Rebecca and I had had our boozy night back in September of 2016. Almost nine months later, here I was, taking advantage of another Groupon deal, again with the same babe.

However, the original plan had to been to visit The Redchurch Bar with a friend on May 20th. We arrived in Shoreditch at 4pm (where both the Groupon deal and Google say the bar is open from), but the doors weren’t open. We assumed the bar staff were just running a little late, so settled up shop in The Verge across the road, where, graciously, there was also a Happy Hour (review of The Verge coming soon).

We sat in The Verge until 7pm, occasionally popping over to see if it had opened yet. It never did, although at some points, a man (presumably the manager) was standing behind the locked door, furrowing his brows whilst on his phone. Eventually we gave up hope on our Redchurch cocktails, and went for dinner in Brick Lane. But that was really, really annoying. Of all the problems I’ve had with Groupon, up until then, I’d never experienced a place not actually being open.

So, of course, it was with trepidation that I approached the place with Rebecca some 10 days later. Amazingly, it was open! Admittedly, we got there a bit later, 8:30pm, but the lack of staff was telling immediately; it was a fairly spacious bar, yet I only spotted two couples in The Redchurch bar.

Something inconvenient that this place did with their deal which both The Escapologist and Adventure Bar eschewed (by allowing the deal-holder to open up a tab) was that we had to order all our cocktails at once. This wasn’t ideal because it meant some drinks lost some of their chill towards the end, and as we all know, if there’s anything I need more of, it’s chill.

Even more annoyingly, was the fact that they didn’t have ingredients for a bunch of the drinks. As I’ve stipulated in past reviews of Groupon cocktail deals, if I’ve shelled out £24 for six cocktails, I want to maximise my returns by ordering the most expensive drinks. There were several which were £11.50 here, and the one which caught my attention was the ‘Chinese Cosmopolitan’. I’m Chinese, and I love Sex and the City, so that drink sang to me straight away.

Even more worryingly, they didn’t have lychee to make that drink, and they also conspicuously lacked the ingredients for several of the other drinks which cost £11.50. To not have the ingredients for one cocktail is bad enough, but for the waitress to continually tell me I couldn't have what I desired because they didn't have the components? Poor af.

In the end, Rebecca and I were able to find three drinks apiece that we liked, and here they are:


I think Rebecca liked her drinks more than I liked mine, but that’s totally my fault as I went for the rather uninspired ginger champagne (which is exactly what it says on the tin). But even if the flavours didn’t bowl me over, they were extremely potent drinks (none of that Slug and Lettuce watered down rubbish here), so we got fairly tipsy and #GirlTalk was had. A picture of us enjoying ourselves is here.

I always notice the music in bars, and whilst I love pop music as much as the next person, The Redchurch Bar played an artist who I wasn’t expecting, but like a lot: J. Balvin. He sang the song ‘Ay, vamos’ from one of the Fast and the Furious movies, and ‘Ay, vamos’ came on towards the end, which made me very happy. I applaud whoever chose the music at The Redchurch Bar for thinking outside the box; it went down a treat.

So the drinks were generally good (Rebecca loved hers), the d├ęcor and the music was good…. Shame about the atmosphere. Due to the place being so short-staffed, the woman who made our cocktails left shortly after serving us, meaning there was just one guy behind the bar. Because of that, The Redchurch Bar didn’t draw attention to themselves by putting a sign outside telling people that they were open like most drinking holes do. By the time me and Rebecca left, we were the only ones in the bar.

We were out to catch up with each other, so the lack of other people in the bar shouldn’t be a big deal. But when there is absolutely no ambience, and all you can hear is your own conversation (and some awesome Latinamerican music, I’ll concede), it makes you a little too aware of your surroundings. And considering I was out drinking to drown my sorrows, the last thing I wanted was more self-awareness.

Grade: D

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I never talk about it, but I love being in London and reviewing all the bars I've been to. More of my reviews are here. If you would like me to review your venue, drop me an email at lemon_and_lime7@hotmail.com.

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