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Thursday, 13 December 2012

Underdog, Shoreditch

For its first stab at a cocktail bar, Scottish indie craft brewing success story BrewDog has created a moody speakeasy in the basement of its second London premises - at what used to be Mason & Taylor and, before that, Green and Red. Figure out how to get in -  having Marvel Comics mutant Kitty Pryde's special powers will help - and you'll enter a dimly lit, atmospheric, post-punk take on a Deep South juke joint circa Calvin Coolidge - complete with a gutsy growling rhythm n'blues soundtrack, occasional live music and bartenders straight out of a Walker Evans portrait. Are the drinks as downbeat as their Great Depression-era surroundings? Not a bit of it! Any joint whose head honcho, lightly probed as to what bar he rates in London (his excepted), cites Happiness Forgets is playing my tune. Priced between £8 and £9, ideas such as Boil Your Maker (Glen Garioch Highland single malt or Buffalo Trace with a choice of floral, rich or bittersweet home-made vermouths) are top dog. As in an Ardbeg-based julep and The Beer Meeting (Diplomatico Anejo, Dead Pony and Libertin Black ales, verveine cordial and orange bitters) BrewDog brews inevitably sneak into the mix wherever practicable -but the guys aren't beer zealots to the extent that they won't knock out a Negroni..or Dead Pony-Groni if you let them have their way.  Underdog has the makings of a great Shoreditch bar. So what if only popcorn is available to eat? There's a Depression going on out there, don't ya know? Two 'Snakebiteritas' to the good; like you care?
51 - 55 Bethnal Green Road E1 6LA 7729 8476