1073 Cocktails and 238 Bars now listed
Whilst offering a nod to the illustrious drinks of the past, this is certainly no speakeasy. Rather a forward looking, think 2011 London not 1920’s Atlantic City, den of iniquity serving sublime cocktails. A slightly seedy subterranean basement hidden away from the hustle and bustle of Hoxton Square offering high rent cocktails in a low rent basement. A labour of love that most will walk past, but those who know about are already friends & regulars.
It would be easy to make this bar sound like yet another *yawn* speakeasy styled establishment. It’s located in a basement, there is minimal signage to announce its presence, its all low-lit and intimate, and the bartenders are generally of the skinny kind with trouser braces being a favorite item of clothing. Except it’s not, it is way cooler than that.
The best bars make it very hard to put put your finger on what it is that makes them so great because somehow everything just comes together in a perfectly packaged parcel of joy. Happiness Forgets is one of those bars. Here, the service is top notch, not just in an efficient ‘take you order then deliver it promptly’ kind of way, but also in that all too rare ability to make you feel like you are genuinely welcome. Perhaps the bartenders moonlight as actors, but when they ask how your day has been they do a very good job of sounding like they give a monkeys. Despite the absence of any particular door policy the bar manages to attract a decent crowd who contribute to an atmosphere that elicits that wonderful post first drink feeling as soon as you enter.
If the service and atmosphere are helped by the slightly ‘recycled’ look about the furnishings, it is the drinks that really deliver the knockout punch to the competition. Rarely have I enjoyed a series of drinks of different styles where each and every one delivered a near perfect score. A warning though, if you like your drinks neutral-tasting, don’t come here. My Kampaloma Soda combined Kamm and Sons Ginseng Spirit, blanco tequila, cane sugar syrup, lime and grapefruit and its description as being “a quick vacation in a long glass” was spot on; bitter, sweet and sour with just the right kick of tequila. For a palate that likes to consider itself suave, the Louis Balfour effortlessly combined Talisker whisky, LBV port, Amer Picon and honey to create a boozy little number with the perfect level of sweetness to ensure it glides down the gullet a treat. I could go on as the menu simply doesn’t contain a drink that you wouldn’t happily consume night after night. A glance at the back bar means this comes as no surprise as this is clearly owned by someone with a passion for quality booze; perhaps they should supply bibs for I certainly spent some considerable time drooling.
The only problem with Happiness Forgets is that everyone else loves it too, and that means heading early or being sufficiently organised to book. This is hardly a chore though, once you’re in you won’t be wanting to leave any time soon.