Through a little London doorway down a little London lane lives The C.O.L.D Bar, all flickering candles and charming hubbub. TWOP visited one Wednesday evening for a master class in GIN, and we thoroughly enjoyed ourselves too.
Head into the city from Blackfriars through winding cobbled streets and you may just come across a small snickleway called Bride Lane. On your right is a doorway: enter it and take the stairs down into the underground bar (and fully functioning distillery). A smile of bar staff (not the official collective noun, but it seems right) will greet you against the dimly lit backdrop and seat you on mismatched chairs around your table. Settle in, here begins your gin experience.
C.O.L.D, for those of you wondering, stands for City of London Distillery, and is run by the fine folk from the London Bar Consultants. The house gin served at the bar is made on-site in the distillery tank behind the glass wall (ask nicely and they’ll show you how it works). Infused with grapefruit, you’ll be offered a serving with Fever Tree tonic water and a slice of grapefruit, and it’s bloody delicious.
But this bar isn’t all about flogging the homemade brew. With over 300 different types of gin displayed on the back-bar, they want you to explore. A carefully crafted cocktail menu (£9.50 a pop) is designed to bring the best out of gin, and with unusual concoctions such as ‘Rocking Chair: peppermint, whisper of peach’ or ‘Merchant: coffee, cardamom, house orgeat’ it’s certainly going to be a walk on the wild side for your senses.
Then, of course, are the gin martinis. Shaking it up once again (or stirring it up, whatever), they don’t offer their selection of different gins based on brand name but based on flavour. Six flavour suggestions are given, including our personal favourite description: ‘flowers, purple, soft’. Line this up against ‘spice, fire, prickle’ and you can easily see how the words would come to life in a 75ml measure. Although they’re a little on the expensive side at £13.50 a hit, they’re well worth it.
If you’re keen to just work your way through G&Ts, the bar offers their third ingenious list: the three-tier price system. Decide whether you’re in a £7, £9 or £11.50 mood, tell the bartender what type of flavours tickle your fancy, and they’ll navigate their way around the world of gin to find something to perfectly suit your taste and your price bracket (these prices also include tonic).
TWOP indulged in a gin masterclass: a tasting tour through the history of gin, guided by the very charming bar owner Lewis and lubricated by more gin than you can shake a juniper branch at. We learnt more than we ever expected to about gin, and finished with a cocktail of our choice (Lewis convinced JB to go off-piste with an absinthe – something she still isn’t over). Masterclasses come in at £65 a head and can be for any sized group.
There’s a hell of a lot of AWESOME going on in this bar, and it can cater for any gin-related need. You need to be a member to be able to book tables, but it’s free and members get some other perks too so sign up now to treat your taste buds to something a little bit special.
For more details and booking, visit the Cold Bar website here.
> Client Friendly: Client-wooing
> Affordability: A little treat ££
> Nearest station: Blackfriars
> Dress code: Any clothes goes
> Best for: Schmoozing
Words by – Jo Birch
[Imagery courtesy of Cold bar]