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Thursday, 28 May 2015

Jailbird, Kentish Town


Set in the bowels of its new Kentish Town branch, Joe’s Southern Kitchen's bar ‘makes the most of its history as a police station’s cells.’ A bare, bland, boring, blood-red, windowless box; hatch bar aside, ugly, backlit swing doors, the room's main feature; tinny-sounding 80s hairbrush diva pop instead of the promised Northern soul, blues and rockabilly: you reckon, guys? One staff member claims they ‘are working on the decor.’ Hmm. Work also needs to be done on a cocktail list that our perplexed waitress admits is “very girly.” Judging by joyless jam jar serve Maple Pie (Jim Beam Maple, lemon, apple juice and ‘apple pie syrup’), cloyingly sweet julep, Kentucky Cousin, and an £8.50 Bulleit ‘Bullish Negroni’ that left us distinctly bearish, the girl that inspired it is sad-arse Southern twerker, Miley Cyrus. Picklebacks, Brooklyn lager and £5 margaritas may keep some boys happy but this boy can't help thinking this soulless pit is no improvement on poitin-serving Irish speakeasy Shebeen, Jailbird's predecessor. We pass on wings, hot dogs, mac’n’cheese and pulled pork bun on the basis that the popcorn shrimp we do order has somehow morphed into chewy Chinese-style fish balls by the time it reaches us. "That is how popcorn shrimp should be" imagines our server. Yeh, and my name's Aileen Wournos! Before my inner serial killer is unleashed, we bust loose: a night in a real slammer could be no worse than my brief incarceration at Jailbird...so long as a bent bobby slipped me a bottle of JB, a bacon butty and a cashmere blanket. 

300 Kentish Town Road NW5