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Hide Bar

Hide Bar

Hide Bar says:

Everything we offer at The Hide is the best we can find, from local Meantime beers on tap through to one of the best selections of spirits in London. Our cocktails are carefully crafted by award-winning bartenders who will gladly help you choose the drink that suits you, and our wine list showcases some of the most interesting and unusual wines in London – situated in the home of the Wine & Spirit Education Trust, we need to offer you something special. We hope to encourage you to try something new and expand your drinking horizons!

Social and Cocktail says:

Oftentimes the very first impressions of a bar turn out to be reliable markers of the overall experience. Like when you walk in to be greeted by a shady-looking character behind the bar stocking the chilled Jager fridge, and your about-turn is impeded by the grip the sticky floor has on your shoes; you know you won’t be finding you new favourite cocktail there. Or when you walk in and the bartender stops what he is doing, having observed your parched state, to quietly pour you a glass of chilled water before you’ve even removed your jacket; quality service is a solid bet. But sometimes, it just isn’t that easy.

Arriving at the latter for the first our visits, the latter experience was much appreciated since whoever is in charge of King’s Cross these days is mostly doing an excellent job at making walking navigation a punishing past time. Indeed service-wise this is a commendable establishment, largely. Everyone is nice, affable even, but there is a hint of ‘going through the motions’ among some of the team. No rudeness per se, just the occasional deliberate avoidance of eye contact, for fear presumably that you might ask for something.

At first, it is perplexing why the place is not busier.  There’s a gentle buzz, but it’s not enough to annoy you were it generated by upstairs washing machine. It makes little sense at first, the Hide conveniently placed in trendy Bermondsey, it’s got a bit of industrial–chic about it with the formed concrete ceilings and bar (you don’t get that in a speakeasy), and the drinks stand out on the page as being innovative and inviting.  The ‘So Fresh So Clean‘ aperitif, combining Pisco, bay leaf meringue, aperol and citrus was just that; fluffy, drying but just a hint of sweetness and that unique savoury note courtesy of the bay leaf. This is just the sort of creative flavour combination that should have drinkers heading here en masse.

When you play with unconventional flavours though, you take a risk. It’ll either become the reason customers head to your bar from all over town, or it’ll be the reason why you limit yourself to the niche, adventurous-drinker market.  Hide flicks between the two with its delivery. Some cocktails are frankly genius combinations of ingredients, such at the Devil in Diguise with its umami hit of Mezcal, bourbon, perique tobacco liqueur, tamarind, egg and tonka beans. This is a flip cram-packed with sweet, herbal, vegetal and rich flavours sure to satisfy a well-traveled imbiber. The problem here, and it’s not a mighty one, is that not every cocktail is so awe-inspiring.  Beyond the Sea for example is an untidy mix of Talisker whisky, lillet blanc, honey and lavender foam with an Ardbeg mist.  The lavender is too sweet, the peaty whisky to sharp, and the lillet doesn’t know what it’s supposed to do.

The off not-to-your-taste cocktail is par for the course in bars which seek to challenge the palate, and the Hide is to be commended for its refusal to take the easier crowd-pleasing route. This bar will remain a regular choice for a brief refreshment when passing through and it is certainly worth the 5 minute walk from the station with the pointy thing sticking out the top.  If they can reign in the ambition just a touch, the assuredness of a a cocktail that always delivers will surely be well-received.

The Cocktail Geek  the cocktail geek


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