The London Cocktail Club has added another notch to its belt, with the opening of a rocking naval-style sister bar at Shaftsbury Ave.
Less than a month old, the underground bar is already attracting a heaving crowd that is as eclectic as its decor. BLUK caught up with assistant general manager Sarah Mitchell, formerly of Graphic, to talk about birds, bars and all things rum.
BLUK: What is the concept behind the bar?
SM: Not Tiki! Tiki’s dead, and you can say I said that! What it is, is a naval-style rum bar. In the decor you’ve got navy pin-up girl posters all around, navy-style tattoo sparrows on the wall and plenty of rum. Everyone seems really enthusiastic; it’s rum but not Tiki. It’s nice to have something a bit different.
BLUK: How is it different to the original LCC Goodge Street?
SM: It’s really similar, in a lot of ways, same attitude, same style, although we’ve gone for a rum focus here. We are incredibly busy, so busy, especially during happy hour. We get a mix of regulars, the office crowd, some footfall, customers that have heard about us from Goodge Street, and a lot of customers from the old wine bar that we took over from. When they come in, they are all so impressed with what we’ve done with the place.
BLUK: What’s the team like?
SM: We’ve got a great team. Matt Armitage from the LCC Goodge Street has come down as general manager and we’ve got about four or five young bartenders who are thirsty for knowledge, and who are all producing great drinks.
BLUK: You’ve got a cracker of a cocktail list. Talk us through it.
SM: Andy Mill put together the list, and there’s also a few of Matt’s on there. I’d say the Red Dragon is the most popular cocktail (Bacardi 8 Rum, pineapple and lime juice shaken with Chinese five-spice syrup and bitters and garnished with a fortune cookie). But, they’re all really good. We’ve also got the Black Tot, which is great as a pinnacle of the backbar. Basically, it’s the last remaining rum from the days when it was part of a ship’s ration. You can have a tot of it, and it comes with your own engraved mug, too.
BLUK: You were at Graphic for a few years, why the change?
SM: At Graphic, everything had run its course, I feel like I’d taken it as far as I could. James and JJ and I had always talked about me joining the team and this felt like the right time to do it.
BLUK: Lastly, sum up the place in three words.
SM: Rum, fun and rock n’roll!