69 Colebrooke Row, Islington, London, N1 9AA
I first visited 69 Colebrooke Row, also called The Bar With No Name, when it opened and I was newly arrived in London. I didn’t get it. It was small, dark and expensive. On a cold Friday night, with due notice that I LOVE their sister bar the Zetter Townhouse, I returned to the scene of the crime to try again and it was small, dark and…really pretty reasonable!
The Bar With No Name similarly has no sign outside; Just walk north from Angel up Colebrooke Row for about 10 minutes and take the martini awning as a guide to their door. And make sure you book or you’ll have to take a stair and hope someone leaves.
So you may need to read the menu by the light of your mobile phone if you are not lucky enough to get a bar seat – you can ask and you will have the staff squeezing through but well worth the effort to enjoy the show – but who cares when the menu reads so damn well. Enjoy a glass of water as you browse (tick!) and if you look a little undecided they are more than happy to recommend both on and off the menu (tick!); then the staff dressed in a cross between a lab coat and a blazer will bring you your drink on a silver tray.
69 Colebrooke Row's main bar area boasts cool seating and quirky artwork
At £9 for all house cocktails I barely acknowledged the wine or beer overleaf – but the choices are there if you do not choose your drinking companion wisely. I opted for the Rhubarb Gimlet, of which several ingredients were homemade, and it was quite frankly fresh and delicious. A Manhattan similarly produced oohs and aahs from my friend.
As for the space it is small but does not lack atmosphere and they certainly are trying to fit us all in comfortably with a mixture of high barstools at the bar (surprise), against the back wall and then low tables and chairs throughout. Otherwise a few large drinks posters and wooden floors make up the rest. The music on the night had a latino flavour and I could definitely envisage dancing – in a reserved “limited space” kind of way – picking up as the cocktails go down.
The Islington bar has a cool vintage twist and an amazing array of liquor
I am not sure what I did not understand the first time round, perhaps it was the crowd I took, perhaps it was London prices still shocking me, either way I’ve booked onto one of Tony’s masterclasses here for March and look forward to more trips to North London in the not too distant future.
Budget: Happily Affordable
Pre-design: Impressing your date, Sex & The City Cocktail, The Trendy Crowd