After nearly three weeks on the wagon (strange but true) I'd been drooling for most of yesterday over the thought of the cool hit of a dry martini. A dinner plan had fallen through slightly but Antonia and I stuck to the bare bones of it by arriving at Angelus for an early supper. The lounge bar behind the restaurant is a lovely space for a pre-dinner sharpener and we duly settled in and ordered one each. Quel domage. Comfortably the worst DM I have ever had. Wetter than a mermaid's wet bits.
So after a decent enough meal, at least for the carnivorous half of the party (who got to suck on a pigeon's head), we decided to pop along to The East Room, a new offshoot of Milk & Honey, the members-only drinking club in Soho. The East Room, behind an anonymous door at the southern end of Tabernacle Street, is dangerously close to the office so I was keen to find out if it would do as a new after (or during) work drinking establishment.
And a great bar it is too. The main room is big but very comfortable. Lots of comfy sofas and plenty of bar stools if you want them. There's a buffet set up in the corner (not sure what the deal is there) and Enomatic machines dotted around the walls that will serve you up taster measures or glassfuls of some very fine New World wines. Once you've equipped yourself with a special card loaded up with cash the idea is that you can sample wines outside your usual budget, or just ones you're not sure about, without committing to a whole bottle. You can apparently keep an opened bottle in these gadgets for ages without the wine going off. They're not the most attractive machines but it's a nice idea and it'll be interesting to see if it catches on. Alas, I don't think they take Oyster cards.
So in theory you could go to East Room, buy yourself a glass of wine and not talk to anyone at all. Which, this close the usual anti-service hub of Hoxton, is quite frankly a pretty attractive prospect. But then you'd be missing out on one of most compelling aspects of the whole establishment: the staff. We could not have been better looked after. From the nice ladies who took our coats to the chap who was mixing our fantastic martinis to the head barman (who I am sure is the chap who plays Spiderman) who scurried off to choose us some brilliant wines from the magic machines... everyone was polite and professional but also friendly, clearly knowledgeable and refreshingly enthusiastic. Not something you can say for many of the bars in the area.
It's open to those members of the public who can find it for the next
few weeks. I think they may have said till the end of April. And look: it's nearly home-time on a Friday. I'm off there now...
The East Room, 2a Tabernacle Street, London EC2A 4LU 07000 THSTRM (if you please)