The Charles - a brandy and sweet vermouth-based number I've enjoyed in numerous drinking dens - is a prince among cocktails. In honou...
Thursday, 21 January 2016
Ruby's Bar and Lounge, Dalston
Accessed down the same shonky staircase - as distinct from each other as the former premises they inhabit (a cheap chop suey joint and a naff Nigerian nightclub) - Tom Gibson’s conjoined dive bars are bang on the Dalston dollar. Turn left for anything from postmodern-ironic Snowballs (advocaat and lemonade with a maraschino cherry on top for 50s sophistication) to a spot-on Sipsmith Gibson in Gibson’s Peaky Blinders-era, peeling parlour; as sweet a snug as you’ll find in all N16. Turn right for a larger, booth-lined, party pit where the focus is on craft beers, European wines curated by Clapton oenophiles Verden, and street food residencies such as Hanoi Kitchen, purveyors of soft shell crab, maki rolls and chargrilled lemongrass grilled lamb chops. Launched in January 2016, the newer room’s low-rent 1960s working men’s club vibe - complete with bingo apparatus, a stage for live music, sundry turns, and DJs dropping retro rock and decent disco on a kick-ass system at weekends - pays homage to sadly no-more Mecca dance hall, The Tottenham Royal (pictured in its prime), where Gibson’s grandparents Twisted to The Dave Clark Five and to Beatles’ songs, he tells me. At their grandson's rebooted gaff, anticipate A Hard Day’s Night that will leave you in Bits And Pieces.