Friday, September 5, 2014

Loves Company and Manero's, 23rd August

Loves Company

Loves Company is a funny little bar… that turned out to be quite a big bar. It’s on the corner of City Road and seems to be divided into two, rather snug areas. When we got there at 9, no-one was in there apart from the staff, so we said hello and collected the menus and had a few ‘bants’ over the frisky ingredients of the cocktails such as purple passion and tears of ecstasy, and went and sat down in the other half. There were only about three tables. Soon enough a rather boisterous (too boisterous) group came long and transformed the place from what I would have said was a classy drinking den to something approaching a Wetherspoons. They were just too loud for such a small space.

And then I went to the loo and discovered they have a whole downstairs area, which sounded like it was getting ready to be a pretty jumpin’ place to be. Either we, or they, should have gone down there! We only had the one cocktail, but they were well executed, lovely tipples (I think I had the Blossoming Kiss). We then had a very decent glass of wine before heading off for further adventures.


I had been thinking of taking us to Portside Parlour or White Lyan but we passed the newly opened Canvas bar and thought we might as well see what it was all about. It was moderately busy for a Saturday night, but not too busy to not get to become a little friendly with the bar staff. We could smell popcorn and asked where that was coming from. The bar girl disappeared and came back with a glass full of it – all fresh and warm. And that glass was replenished no less than four times during our two drinks there!

The inside is dark and sleek, with wooden touches in the form of barrels to sit around or wooden-topped high tables. They have a wide selection of cocktails and all three of the ones we tried were accomplished, especially the Gentlemen’s Reservation (I think) – an old fashioned with maple syrup (y’all know how I have a weakness for whiskey and sweetness). I then had a version of Long Island Iced Tea but cola was replaced with something much fruitier that I now can't remember!

The location of this place, very prominent when you come out of Old Street Station, and opposite Aquarium (which has a Carwash night on Saturdays) means it’s definitely prone to being overtaken by hen nights, and there was indeed one that made an appearance, though luckily just the one and they didn’t stay long. I think this is a great new bar, but you might want to pick your moments as to when you go.

Manero's Private Members Club

We had one quick wine (bottle) in Electricity Ballroom and then went to our final destination of the night – Manero’s Private Members Club. We arrived at about 1:30. Plenty of time for the party to have got warmed up we thought. And, according to the bar staff, ordinarily we would have been right, but on this occasion, the place was more or less empty. We were prepared to give them the benefit of the doubt though, and settled in to await other attendees. It must have got to about 3 before there was a sudden explosion of activity, clearly when the other bars had all shut down. We hadn’t minded not having very many people there – it gave us a chance to chat with the DJ, request our favourite songs, and make friends with the bar staff. But it was even better once a few more people turned up. Manero’s is one room, with a bar at the front, some mismatched furniture in a couple of corners and an area where people dance at the back. I thought the place was excellent – just like stumbling into a house party where you don’t know anyone but the host. Some people’s idea of hell maybe, but it worked for me. Intimate, friendly, I don’t think there was anyone there we didn’t talk to!

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