Monday, January 16, 2012

DrinkShopDo x 2, 13th January

It so happened that the first time I went to Drink Shop Do, I went twice in one day. I had already organised to go for drinks with some friends there on the evening, and then my colleagues decided to lunch there. As Drink Shop Do is a café/shop by day and bar by night, I thought it would be good to see it in both its guises. 

Everything in Drink Shop Do is for sale – there is a little shop of craft type stuff at the front, including some wry cards that I particularly found amusing, and then you go into the back where they serve the food and drinks. They also hold different arts and crafts type evenings. Hence the name. They have some specials on every day and we asked the waitress to tell us what they were. We all ended up ordering one of them. I had the spinach and ricotta quiche, which I asked to be warmed. It was very nice and came with an assortment of salad which I wasn’t expecting. However, I must admit I had food envy when I saw what the others had ordered. The soup special was thai coconut and sweet potato, with a bit of chili, which I didn’t go for because I don’t like coconut. To my chagrin I was informed that it didn’t taste coconutty at all, and also came with some lovely crusty tiger bread and a clump of butter. The other order making me see green was the special of beef and ale stew. This too came with some bread and butter and was served in a cute stew pot from which you could see the great hunks of beef and veggies poking out. It looked delicious and I am told it was. And all very reasonably priced. They have a selection of home made cakes on the shelf which looked amazing, but as no one else was indulging, I wasn’t tempted to. Not this time round anyway.

At the end of the working day back I went to DrinkShopDo. While it wasn’t exactly transformed, the ambience was definitely different. There seemed to be more tables and the lights had been dimmed. The cakes had been removed from the bar, and though I think you may still have been able to order them, by the time I got into drinking, the tasty bar snacks of vegetable crisps and chilli wasabi peas and cashews they serve seemed more appropriate. They have a selection of cocktails, as well as wine, beer and cider. The prices are fairly average for London. A cocktail will set you back £7.50, which is actually less than what I have been paying at other cocktail-oriented places. I must highly recommend the Gorgy Porgy. If you have a sweet tooth, this is the drink to go for, like liquid creme brulee.

I was at the venue by 5:45 and the place was already quite busy. I’d say by 6:30 there wasn’t a free table. But luckily, for anyone arriving later, there is a downstairs area with a bar, playing music. You would be forgiven for thinking there wasn’t, as the sign advertises a toilet down the stairs and nothing else, but if you do go to the loo you will discover it. It used to be part of the sex shop next door, which explains the multicoloured streamers at the entrance.

Downstairs is a bit livelier. Upstairs is perfect for having a catch up with a few close friends. When we went in the daytime there was an assortment of board games at the bigger tables, and it was still commonplace to find people getting them out and settling down for a game with their pint.

I think this place is delightful and will definitely be going back for lunch and cake. I tend to go to places that are a little more upbeat in the evenings, but when I’m looking for somewhere friendly, where it’s important to be able to talk without straining your voice or ears, then this would be the place to go.

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I work as an editor in educational publishing by day, and then spend most of my spare time discovering interesting things to do in London, and taking people there with my own Meetup.