65 Rivington Street, London, EC2A 3AY
0207 739 4781
A quirky and eclectic venue in which to sup on some of the best cocktails in the city. At the forefront of what we do – Fun, without compromising the quality of drinks and service.
Sometimes you just get a good feel about a place from the moment you walk in, and nowhere is this more true than at Callooh Callay. Its understated entrance on a side street in the painfully hip Shoreditch belies the quality of what lies within. The feel good factor starts with the bartenders taking the time to look up from their work to greet everyone that enters, and continues with the homely greeting from the impeccably efficient, knowledgable and warm floor staff. A moment later and you briefly think it’s all heading downhill as the server who you thought was a delight hands you a cassette tape instead of a menu. Except it’s not, and what appears to be a piece of vintage memorabilia is in fact the drinks list. This bar is not a fan of traditional menu designs you see, and the latest incarnation follows a comic book and modified tube map amongst others. This is not a bar that takes itself too seriously.
Except that it does take itself seriously, and therein lies a rather large juxtaposition. On the one hand, everything from the Lewis Carroll-inspired quirky design, to the fun and approachable style of the cocktails, screams good-time bar. And it is; yet there is also a serious edge to this bar that makes it all look so easy; and that is in the way it is run. Like a swan gracefully gliding across a lake, all the really hard work goes on out of sight, but the results are clear to see. Efficient and knowledgeable service, expertly made drinks, and a throbbing vibe that is as addictive as the libations they peddle.
Once you’ve gotten your head around the unique presentation, the cocktail list itself is that rare example of a menu which inspires excitement from hardened cocktail enthusiasts and first-timers alike.You’ll not be disappointed to order classics off menu, but the list itself is packed with unique creations that focus on creative flavour combinations that are often deceptively simple, but full of flavour. Typical of the approach taken by Callooh Callay was the Marmageddon, which was way tastier than my description of a margarita topped with beer and served with a Marmite rim makes it sound. Often, less commonly encountered ingredients get an airing, such as the Arrack used in the ‘Island Currency’; a rum punch crammed packed full of flavour and offering a successful mash-up of pineapple, paprika, rum and arrack. This is definitely a bar where it pays to try something new.
Callooh Callay really is a bar that offers something for everyone. Discover it early in your cocktail exploration and you’ll forever be trying to match it, discover it late and you’ll kick yourself for not visiting sooner.
Anise and Nephew ~ A punchy Daiquiri style drink using Wray & Nephew Rum, Velvet Falernum, Fresh Pineapple and Lime Juice with Pernod Absinthe