Monday, 9 March 2015
Sovereign Loss, Brixton
After The Dance - torrid sessions at The Fridge, a full-on anything-goes nightclub - we'd limbo low under a metal roll-down shutter on Railton Road. Granted access - God knows why - by a couple of grim Yardie guardians to a secret scene that recreated the cover of Marvin Gaye's sexy seminal album, I Want You, we'd crub with the best of them to Gregory Issacs, Shabba Ranks and other reggae ragamuffins. Back in the day, Brixton was peppered with West Indian-run illegal drinking dens (known as ‘shebeens’ from the Irish term for moonshine whiskey). This was long before today's London's groove-jets fell for the more vanilla thrill of drinking in pastiche Prohibition-era speakeasies - pretty much the vibe at Sovereign Loss. Moody, penumbral and affectedly louche, welcome to an Edward Hopper-esque gin joint to be found behind a door marked ‘trade entrance’ round the back of The Prince of Wales pub. Journalist, Corpse Reviver, El Presidente and Metropole cocktail (a brandy-based Manhattan named after a notorious 1900s Times Square hotel frequented by scarlet women), co-owner Chris Dennis (ex-ZTH, Clerkenwell) and his enthusiastic young team are happy to mix reasonably priced martinis, old fashioneds and revisited classics until daybreak: a covetable 24-hour licence allows the Art Deco-inspired saloon to stay open until as late as 5am at weekends; ideal for nightcaps after a bar crawl on Brixton’s increasingly interesting cocktail scene.