Gin time at Mr Fogg’s!

Gin Tucked up above Mr Fogg’s Tavern in central London, and hidden behind a secret door, sits Mr Fogg’s Gin Parlour.

Ben and I headed there on a warm Friday evening prepared to sample as much gin as we could muster. We found ourselves in the right place, as Mr Fogg’s is home to 300 varieties of gin! (Well that was my drinks for the night sorted – I don’t know what Ben was expecting to drink!)

The parlour is decorated like Phileas Fogg’s front room; with trunks for tables, foliage, adventurer hats, tusks, and items that could have been collected anywhere in the world.

There was lots to look at, and the overall effect was homely, cute, and cosy.

Ben and I settled down on a chaise longue by the window, and were rewarded with our first drink in a chunky orb-shaped glass from a bartender dressed in a wenches costume.

It was Mr Fogg’s signature gin, which was Tanqueray and tonic, with ice and botanicals. The botanicals looked like floating potpourri  to me, but the gin experts said that they were specially selected botanicals to enhance the flavours of the gin.


Gin bigger than his head


In the ‘spirit’ of things

After our first gin, we were handed the ‘Encyclopaedia Gintonica’ listing all the gins kept in Mr Fogg’s cellar for us to choose from. Some of these were recognisable brands, such as Gordon’s and Henrick’s, and others were rare and preserved gins that cost £80 a glass!

Ben chose a gin called ‘Broken Heart’ from his homeland New Zealand, and I courageously opted for a ‘Warner Edwards’ coconut infused gin.

The coconut flavoured gin had a slightly perfumey taste, and reminded me of a pina colada. It was the first time I’d come across coconut gin, and I’d say it was refreshing – even though I might never order it again.


Feeling adventurous!

Our chosen gins were then matched with special botanicals by the Mr Fogg’s staff and served in large glasses.

I’m not quite sure what my third and final gin of the evening was, because by this point I was feeling pretty smashed! But I think it was lavender flavoured because it was dyed lilac and had a sprig of lavender balanced on the top of the glass. I usually don’t like egg white in my drinks, but in my new adventure-seeking state of intoxication, I went for it anyway – and it must have tasted great because I finished the whole thing very quickly!

We then explored Mr Fogg’s gin collection…


-Two for the way home…

The toilets were cute too!

Mr Fogg’s was a great experience – and I definitely had my fill of gin! I already want to go back.


Cahoots: boozy cocktails and vintage charm

Cahoots (noun): acting together with others for an illegal or dishonest purpose. Synonyms: conspire, collaborating, conniving.

‘Secrecy’ seems to be the name of the game with Cahoots, the vintage-themed underground bar off Carnaby Street which is set in a tube station. And this is probably what makes it so popular, well-known and sought after.

Vintage babes

I went to Cahoots for Ciaras birthday. Ciara had mentioned that the bar sounded cool, so I made sure that we make a reservation for her birthday back in March so that we could definitely go!

Both the website and the email booking confirmation explained the theme of the bar, and also swore us to secrecy about its existence (So I’m breaking all the rules with this blog…)

Read all about it

Cahoots is tucked away in a nook just off Carnaby street. If you didn’t know it was there, you could easily walk past it without spotting it – the only thing that might give it away would be any people waiting outside to go in.

The bar is underground, so the wartime bunker/ tube station theme ties in well with the setting. There are shiny tiles leading downstairs to the bar which felt like a very clean and narrow tunnel down to a tube platform.

Mind the gap

At the end of the tunnel, I half expected to turn the corner and walk onto a platform with the bar inside the tube carriage – was my imagination running away with me!? – but it was fashioned more like a waiting room/ train carriage/ cluttered bunker.

The bar

In the tube

Drugs, and rock ‘n’ roll

We were a large party and we had booked, so we had quite a good table that was enclosed in a sort of cage structure that could have been used to hold luggage over the seats in an old train. I think if you walked in without booking (after, of course, waiting for at least an hour outside first) you could sit at a small table in the middle of the bar, or stand up at the bar.

Under cover

The website states that 40s vintage dress is encouraged. But we didn’t pay too much attention to the dress code, thinking that nobody would really adhere to it. But how wrong we were!

Men and women had gone all out, with women in 1940s tea dresses, victory curls and bright lipstick. Some of the men had donned a white shirts with braces – some of them even looked like they had curled their facial hair for the occasion. Luckily my friends and I wake up looking glam, so we just dressed as our stylish 2016 selves.

The cocktail menu was enormous! It looked like a newspaper and every column and ‘article’ listed all the different drinks you could choose. There were so many that it took us a while to decide what we wanted, even with our waitress sitting down with us to talk through the menu. There are different sections and categories of drinks listed in the menu/paper, and at around £10 a cocktail, you need to make a good decision!

Tea with a twist…

Cocktails or cockfails?

My first drink was called Keep Marm’ and Carry On. Adhering to the prohibition theme, it came in a cute teacup and saucer and was served with a biscuit layered with lemon curd and a berry… How cute!

A good selection!

The birthday girl

In our group of eight we ended up with a good selection of cocktails on our table. Luckily none of us had one of those moments where you take the first sip of cocktail and grimace and question what an earth you were thinking when you ordered it… Because they were all very tasty!

Half way through the evening, conversations were brought to a halt by the wail of an air raid siren. There didn’t seem to be much significance to this, apart from maybe to reinforce the wartime theme in case you had forgotten for a second what bar you were in.

God save the Queen

There was a mix of couples and groups of friends in the bar and everyone looked equally excited to be there.

This could have been because they had been waiting for hours on the door, or because (like us) they had booked the table months ago and had been counting down the days in anticipation ever since.

Which way to Cockfosters?

Move down inside the carriages!

When we emerged from the underground, a chunky queue line had taken over the narrow street outside, and people were glammed-up and huddled under umbrellas in the rain waiting to come in. Cahoots can ask its patrons to keep mum about the bar, but the constant hoard of people outside it speaks volumes.

It’s a great place to visit for something different, and it’s worth booking it five months in advance, or even getting dressed up to wait in the rain to go in!

I spy…

Good slurping action there Matt

Wine under the altar

I love spontaneous nights out, drinks and meet ups, and I discovered Gremio de Brixton on one of these. I had the pleasure of visiting it last Friday night.

gremio-de-brixton-babalou-1-optimisedGremio is set aside from the main patch of bars and restaurants around Brixton village, so it’s the kind of place that you wouldn’t necessarily stumble upon on a night out.

It’s actually based underneath St Matthew’s Church in Brixton – not exactly where you would expect to find a bar! It’s a tapas bar and restaurant in the church cellar, and it’s surprisingly large (it’s probably the same size as the church.)


St Matthew’s Church – hiding a gem


Found you!

You can’t see the whole bar from anywhere when you’re inside, because the low ceilings and stone archways act as dividers and make it feel intimate and small, not to mention the fact that it is only lit very dimly.

The restaurant section is at the back, and it’s a lot bigger than you’d think.  Being a spontaneous evening out meant that we hadn’t booked a table, and had to order a drink at the bar before we were seated.

We went for a selection of chorizos, serrano ham croquettes with quince aioli, suckling pig with apple and pear mash and onion relish, asparagus and orange salad with walnuts, and octopus served with potatoes and smoked paprika mayo.

The food was delicious. It’s hard to have a favourite dish, but I’m going to have to vote the sucking pig as the best. Don’t let the word ‘suckling’ put you off – it was tender, tasty and moreish.


The suckling pig

All the food was really well presented and looked beautiful on its own! But the dim lighting – not the fact that the food didn’t last very long before it was eaten! – meant that photography was difficult.

After eating as much tapas as we could manage, we ordered another bottle of red and found a nice spot in the middle of the bar to stand.

The bar gets really busy, but as I mentioned, it’s very large and spacious, so it’s still a good place to hang out.

It’s a great venue, and there’s plenty of space if you go in a big group!