Hiding behind The Old Lady Of Threadneedle Street's skirts, new bar The Arbitrager is considerably smaller than I imagine the averag...
Thursday, 23 June 2011
Happiness Forgets, Hoxton
According to Dionne Warwick, ‘loneliness remembers what happiness forgets.’ Did writers Bacharach and David ever imagine their song would inspire a funky East London watering hole? ‘Please don’t call it “a speakeasy.”’ Mr. Head-Shaker tits, worried the term has been inappropriately appropriated by PRs and hacks (guilty) to describe any liquor lounge smaller than Tiger Tiger, the Haymarket meet-market that’s bigger than Bulgaria. He’s not keen on ‘dive bar’ either, although, technically, that’s what this basement snug is. OK, then: Happiness Forgets is a small cocktail bar.... with big appeal. Happy now, mister? I am: we have Head-Shaker’s undivided attention, given the place is (unfathomably) as deserted as a Detroit dollar-a-daiquiri dive (oops, sorry!) that’s run out of rum. Tonight, it seems, the Happi-inn isn’t for N1’s gelled fin stick-thins, out en masse, for a spot of competitive preening in Hoxton Square. Maybe they begrudge £7 for a top drawer rinse? Their loss! Improved Gin Cocktai, Sazerac and a bone dry Martini are irreproachable. Knocking out flawless classics, not farting around with faddy ‘molecular’ malarkey, is HF's mission statement. I like the look of Harry Palmer (Maker’s Mark, Suze and vermouth). Named after Len Deighton’s spy from The Ipcress File, it’s fatal for Cainers, out dangerously late on a school night. Unaware that I write for the paper, Head- Shaker tells me a PR (I know who you are) dropped in, warning him that the only way his bar could be guaranteed a review in Metro, was if he hired her. Let's be clear. A: it doesn't work like that. B: his bar just got a great review from me... in print...gratis! Update (June 2012). My review and subsequent praise elsewhere have placed this puppy front-of-brain for any booze-hound headed Hoxton way. Prices may have nudged up but standards have deffo not dropped. Journalist and a top tart absinthe and apple sour whose name escapes my one remaining brain cell (Alistair Head-Shaker will know) are your current best calls at this fine basement open, sadly, no later than 11pm. 8 Hoxton Square, N1 7613 0325