Once upon a time gin was considered the top tipple of only maiden aunts and tottering grandmothers. It’s undergone a bit of a revival though, and now it seems that every other bar in London is serving up gin cocktails in teacups and jam jars and all sorts of twee-ass vessels. I’m not complaining though; the stuff is delicious. And that’s why I was so excited when my friend Becky, who is just an absolute fucking wizard at buying presents, bought me a gin-tasting voucher for the London Gin Club.
I went along with my gin-loving friend, the aptly named Carla Juniper, who was also on the receiving end of Becky’s excellent gift-giving skills. We found the bar pretty easily, about a five minute walk from Oxford Circus. It’s small and intimately lit with a speakeasy vibe going on, and friendly, knowledgeable staff.
We were booked in for Tasting Menu No 1, which featured four different gins, each served in a little bottle alongside a garnish carefully chosen to complement its flavour. The idea was you tried it on the rocks, then added the tonic and garnish. I was a bit worried beforehand that my peasant palette wouldn’t be sophisticated enough to tell the difference between gins, but I was pleasantly surprised. Even with the tonic, each was delicious and unique with its own distinctive flavour. Carla’s favourite was the spicy, gingery Williams Great British gin, mine the magnificently fresh King of Soho with its citrus notes.
In addition to the tasting menus, they also serve a variety of gin-based cocktails from £8.50, which is a bit steep but standard for Soho. I rounded off the evening with a Seventh Heaven, a short concoction of gin, vanilla liqueur, plum bitters and soda. It tasted like a slutty sweet shop, boozy and rich, but not intolerably sugary. Carla had a custom blended Ginger Tom, which was strong enough to take down a rhinoceros.
The bar is INCREDIBLY small and several parties were turned away during our three hour visit, which was a shame as the whole place seemed to attract dozens of beautiful men. For this reason I’d recommend a table with a good view of the door if you’re shameless perverts like us. To be fair, they were having renovations downstairs so space was even more limited, but in any case I’d recommend booking ahead. You can do this via the website.
Although this is place is great for both parents and mates, it really shines as a date venue. It’s fun, original and the gin-tasting element is a great ice-breaker. (Obviously check that your date actually likes gin though, because if not you’re pretty fucked; you may as well try and take a vegetarian to MEATmission.) I’ve been on loads of really mediocre first dates and I can tell you now that if someone had the imagination and organisational madskills to suggest this place I’d be so fucking delighted they’d almost certainly get a hand job out of it. And really a bar can’t get any higher accolade than that.
The London Gin Club offers a range of Tasting Menus starting from £23/head including gin samples and tonic. As well as standard cocktails (from over 100 kinds of gin!), you can also blend your own gin with their ‘Ginventor‘ option, from £23.
Book at table on their website or on 0207 494 2488.
Address: The Star at Night, 22 Great Chapel Street, London.
Author: Emily Gibson
Emily is an urban adventurer, blogger and
glutton foodie on an epic quest to uncover the best things to eat, drink and do in London. She lives in East London and loves ceviche, cycling and magic shows. Lifelong nemeses include beetroot, beards and wine served in tumblers.