Walking passed the tourists, Punch & Judy shows and buskers, I already had a feeling that Covent Garden's Adventure Bar would be the kind of venue that's great for a boozy night out. Sitting on the edge of the famous London square, the venue is the part of a wider family of cocktail bars that have made a splash in London's nightlife circles. Known for treating every hour as if it's 9 PM on a Friday night, I was excited to see whether the bar's charm would rub off on me.
The venue itself is spread across a number of different areas. There's a small seating area upstairs, with doors that peel back to create an al-fresco dining and drinking vibe that still offers protection from a sudden British summer downpour. Descend down the stairs to the basement bar and you'll find swanky booths in alcoves, high tables and a bit of grey space for a dance. Keeping the mood light and maintaining that 'schools-out' feeling, the bar opens up its impressive selection of games to guests; we stumbled upon a very competitive game of Twister, one that looked more entertaining the longer happy hour lasted. Framing all of that, the speakers fill every corner with the sound of chart tunes. Like I said, this bar thrives off of a party atmosphere.
The Food & Drink
Happy hour runs between 5-8 PM, with a 2-4-1 deal on a selection of classic cocktails. The Bramble (£9) is a sweet and strong offering from the list, as is the tropically-green June Bug (£9). Making you feel as if you're sat by the pool of some far away holiday resort instead of a subterranean basement in Central London, the latter is served with a bright cocktail umbrella and a cherry.
Away from the Happy Hour menu, the Brit Spritz (£9.80) is a classy little number, made with Kamm & Sons liqueur, elderflower cordial, prosecco, soda, cucumber and fresh orange. Served with plenty of ice in a large wine glass, this is the perfect summer concoction that hits you with a refreshingly sweet taste. Less refreshing but extremely moreish, the Maple Old Fashioned (£11.50) was built around an infusion of Woodford Reserve with bitters, orange and sugar. The barman was keen to tailor it to my own preferences, with more sugar or ice if I desired, but he had made it pretty spot on first time around; the maple gave it a sweetness that was both smooth and rich while the warmth of the bourbon kicks in just as the sweet flavours near overpowering.
To accompany our drinks we snacked on some of the Carribean-themed food. Prepared in the “Dub Jam” kitchen, the Jerk Rebel Skewers are a sublime mixture of BBQ flavours that have been given a Carribean twist. The Jammin Jerk Skewer (£10) comes with 4-hour marinated chicken that has an intensely smoky and spicy taste that lingers nicely. By contrast, the Veggie Bangarang (£9) comes with thick, juicy slices of grilled halloumi and sweet, chargrilled peppers. Both arrive with a smooth and creamy house slaw.
The Deep Fried Mac & Cheese Balls and Southern Fried Chicken Strips (both £5) were an enjoyable side, both coated in this incredible, crispy breadcrumb layer. In truth, it was the Mac & Cheese Balls that stand out in my head; gooey, rich and exploding straight off the palate, it's a must-try in my book.
Adventure Bar caters for whatever stage of the night you find yourself in. It's the sort of venue where an innocent after-work drink quickly escalates into a boisterous night out just a few happy hour cocktails later. Wallet-friendly and relaxed about most things, it's the perfect spot for enjoying one-too-many with your mates.