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Thursday, 15 January 2015

Original Sin, Stoke Newington

Happiness Forgets regularly appears high on those ubiquitous year-end Best Bars lists. Quite right too! No arsey doorwhores. No narcissistic nobs punting molecular fanny. No cringeworthy concept (PR imagines "pre-Revolutionary Romanov luxe in Fabergé jewel brights infused with the decadent spirit of Studio 54" while I imagine Boney M tribute band in traj tin-foil outfits murders Ra-Ra-Rasputin at a Hornchurch hen night. No Cristal-fuelled Kanye and Kim klones. No £25-plus anodyne Asian share boards as flogged for a quid -with free Peter Andre CD - at Iceland. No! Just delightful down-played decor and damn fine drinks. I too am all Happiness to be at owners Alastair Burgess and Andy Bird's Hoxton Square dive whenever I'm not feigning interest in launch night bourbon and butterscotch slush puppies at some Shepherd's Bush shithole (you know who you are!) or the likes. In the quiet downtime of the first week of 2015, I make it to Burgess's Christmas present to London nightlife; his second sexy saloon, a lo-fi linear cellar that has me from hello. Butch brick and wood panelling, convivial booths, perch-perfect bar stools and a brown baize pool table at which to unleash your inner Eddie Felsen (pictured) sett the scene for spot-on fixes that look to old school (vieille école?) tipples for inspiration. Served by enthusiastic, attitude-free, all-female bar staff, classic French red wine-based apéritif Byrrh (plus Kamm and Sons and aquavit) informs Penfold Sour, while Belle Époque Parisian favourite Suze (gentian root, its bittersweet base), white rye and Lillet blanc makes for a top-notch tart Diamond Manhattan. Original Sin could easily be the downfall of this man. My only beef? Bleary-eyed on a night bus, it's a long schlep back to my K + C crib from the cold, windswept steppes of Siberia... aka Stoke Newington. Time to dig out the fur and ring Foxtons!
129 Stoke Newington High Street N16 0PH