Cocktails, dancing, charming barmen, intriguing decor. Sounds like a winning combo, right? Right! Ladybird Bar is a bit of an institution in Islington. Found on Upper Street, it has a 2am license on weeknights and the party keeps going until 4am on weekends. It’s incredibly popular with the ladies, and a new cocktail menu concentrating on a few specialities for the gents is sure to make it the favourite of everyone.
There are some fascinating and eclectic European influences in the decor of this place. It’s quirky and unique. The domed ceiling above the bar has an extraordinary and beautiful depiction of some kind of Da Vinci inspired painting is impressive, bizarre and beautiful. The walls are dark but not gloomy. There is a variety of interesting and contrasting wallpapers - one has velveteen skulls, another is just elegant patterns. There is a vintage looking mannequin bust next to the bar and on the other side by some of the tables, a beautiful, elegant asymmetrical mirror which reflects every angle of the room. The owner clearly doesn’t let the place become stale, and so likes to redecorate every two years, with a few new looks planned for the coming months. He has vision and passion for the venue, and it’s obvious. As the night progresses, the tables by the bar fold back and space is made for dancing. The DJ plays all night and as it gets busier, you can descend the stairs and enter the second bar and dance floor that hides beneath.
Your eyes could spend hours exploring the details of the room, if the cocktails weren't such a huge distraction. The same goes for the barmen. The manager is a 'delicious' man (his adjective for everything we discuss) who is keen to have you test his knowledge of flavours - I say I want something sweet but powerful, and he serves me up a 'Bubble Gum' drink, topped with a foam, similar to Italian meringue, this concoction of rum, orange curaçao, lime juice & bubble gum foam sticky and delicious. The other barman accepts my challenge of making me something extraordinary with tequila, and he returns with a champagne flute filled with something strongly tasting of palma violets. To test my palate, i’m served a glass of something smooth, the colour of deep terracotta. It’s mellow and refreshing, and made with angostura bitters. For those without a sweet tooth, it’s perfect! After a few shots of tequila with orange slices (revolutionary in the slammer world, i'm telling you) and a few more cocktails of various spirit varieties (the Whisky Sour is spot on and clearly a drink that reflects their talent with the classics), i'm about ready to fall off my stall... but at least if I had, the view of the ceiling from the floor would have been beautiful.
The drinks menu has something for absolutely everyone, and is soon to have even more. It caters for every craving, every preference, and if you want something in particular, the barmen are more than happy to adapt and experiment to your tastes. They’re a friendly bunch, with a lot of charm, charisma and skill. The late license means that if you’re looking for a big night, this is the perfect place to get to. As a date venue, it’s a winner, especially during happy hour which runs until 9pm. The same goes for it being a perfect spot to begin (or end) a girls night or for after work tipples if you’re in the area. It ticks pretty much every box, with the exception of food… but that’s what the owner’s restaurant over the road is for...