I have been to the UK - just a layover (and family meet up) from Dubai to my new work destination the Cayman Islands.
And I had to visit at least one reputable bar in London - Satan’s Whiskers has been the most convenient...
You can read sufficiently much online about the bar. It is low brow, versus high quality. But it is especially a bar which proofs, that you don’t need necessarily gimmicks and crazy presentations, to be rated one of the 100 best bars world wide.
Could some Directors of F&B and other decision makers take notice? A bar doesn’t need to be a circus. It doesn’t need to serve cocktails, which dominate instagram for the next months.
So: we came there and have been guided to a mini table for 2 - but we settled with the “host” on a table for 4 - and agreed, that we would relocate, if it would become busy. The room is unique (taxidermy) without being too creepy. It is actually quite an accomplished balance between authenticity, humor and comfort.
Emilio (our “host”) sat on our table to explain the concept of the bar and the drinks - it was very organic and cool - love it. We ordered for her the East 8 Hold Up and for me a Satan’s Manhattan.
The Manhattan was just a Bourbon Manhattan (usually I prefer a Rye Manhattan) - but it was cold, it was strong, it had an amarena cherry (not an unacceptable maraschino cherry) in it. Fantastic. Grade: straight A!
The East 8 Hold Up was not really my taste. More like a fresh drink - probably not for cocktail-snobs. There was nothing particular wrong with this drink - but also, it hadn’t much uniqueness. But it was cold and properly prepared. I would say a C+?
Next: Old Fashioned with Rye. It was good. Maybe few degree too much sweetness and a bit too less diluted (stirring) - yet it had the right amount of angostura, and you could not really fault it. An A- is adequate.
Last drink was a Caipirinha. Good - as well - quite classic. But could have been more “lively” (? - out of lack of another word). C+ as well.
Satan’s Whiskers is a bit of an expensive neighborhood bar. Well - prices were also not too steep - 12 pounds per drink is acceptable.
What I like is, that they don’t pretend to be the messiah of a bar. They are grounded. They have humor, They are personal and nice.
Would I say. that this bar is one of the best bars in London? I don’t go out very often in London (nor am I anyway often enough there) - so I can say - but it would probably mean, that the Bar scene in London isn’t as high quality as they say.
It is an oxymoron. On one side I really enjoyed my bar visit. On the other side I had to see, that everything was good - but nothing was exceptional. You will be the judge...