Sunday, August 27, 2017

Bar review: ASK FOR JANICE (Clerkenwell)

Ask for Janice is a gin bar near the bustle of St. Paul’s. I drank here one Summer’s day. It has some space outside, where I sat : -

Unfortunately, most of the people who sat outside were insufferable hipsters who vaped. So if you sit outside, be aware that you’re going get smacked in the face with a load of second-hand smoke.

As you’d expect from a gin joint, there was a huge range of gins. I thought that there was a little too much choice, to the point where you would be wasting valuable time dithering between two gins, when really, they tasted very very similar. For my first drink, I had the elephant gin, which tasted fine, but at £7.40 for the alcohol and mixer, left me feeling extremely short-changed.

The menu also boasted some novel cocktails (gin-based, naturally), which were intricately made. The waiters certainly had a performative streak when confecting the cocktails, which, to some, may be appreciated, but I rather cynically just thought this was them trawling for tips. And at around £12 a cocktail, I was in no mood to be paying extra for a drink!

Here’s a life hack: bottles of Hendricks or Sapphire gin are available from supermarkets like Tesco for around £16.50 a bottle. You can go to most bars in London and order lime and soda water. Even that’ll be horrifically overpriced for what it is, but take the hit. Then surreptitiously sneak your contraband gin into your soft drink. That way, you can enjoy the ambience of places like Ask for Janice, without having to raid your bank balance.

The decor is probably the thing I'd recommend about Ask for Janice, which is distinctive without being overly try-hard out there:

But sadly, in terms of hospitality in terms of prices, Ask for Janice is not exactly Bogart’s place in Casablanca.

Grade: D


For more of my restaurant and bar reviews, click here.

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