So Friday evening rolls around. It’s cold, it’s dreary, it’s about to start raining. The moment we step outside, it feels like our nostrils are on fire from the cold air. We need to take shelter somewhere. Now. Before we freeze.
Ok, so that’s a major exaggeration. It’s not that cold in London. But it’s chilly enough for us to want to take shelter pretty quickly, making romantic nighttime walks along the Thames definite no-nos. Unless they’re en route somewhere.
A few months ago we shared a pretty great find on Bermondsey Street. And last Friday we made it back towards Bermondsey street with the intention of trying a new joint. We’d heard about 214 Bermondsey, a gin-specializing bar that is well hidden out of sight. In fact, there’s no sign outside, but isn’t the fun of the search the best thing when trying somewhere new?
For the sake of full disclosure, we did have to do a little searching to find the place, which is nestled under Antico Restaurant, but oh, aren’t we glad we did! We were fortunate enough to arrive before it got really crowded and managed to secure two stools at the bar. We actually enjoy sitting at the bar at cocktail bars; seeing the bar tenders make the concoctions is part of the fun, almost like theater.
The bar is dimly lit, with the well-stocked bar built against a red-brick wall, reminiscent of old buildings. There are red leather seats around tables and red leather bar stools. To be honest, the bar stools aren’t the most comfortable, but that didn’t dissuade us from ordering a second drink, or a third, or a fourth.
We tried a Hendrix’ Fix, which is one of those refreshing beverages that might be more appropriate for summer with cucumber, elderflower and lime juice. Another favorite was the Bermondsey Fizz, which mixes Geranium gin with peach bitters and sugar, topped with bubbly. The SE1 Sour deserves a mention, with the homemade fig syrup, while the Elephant Army isn’t just delicious but also generous since 15 percent of bottle sales from Elephant Gin, which is what’s used, goes towards elephant conservation projects.
For those who aren’t gin fans, well, first try one of the cocktails, but if you’re still unconvinced, 214 Bermondsey has some other fantastic cocktails. Special mention goes to Jungle Bird, made with Jamaican rum, Campari, pineapple juice and lime, and would be fantastic to sip on the beach in the Caribbean. But it’s also delicious in London!
Our verdict is that this place is a find, a great place to spend a few hours, take cover from the cold, and in summer from the heat, and in spring from the pollen, and in the Fall….. Well, we have a few months to come up with an excuse.