Brave is the person willing to take on the task of converting a former Chinese takeaway into a funky basement bar: Ruby's has executed the speakeasy concept with panache to create a buzzing fun-filled drinking den. It was time to don my reviewing hat and take a look.
Ruby's sits quietly beneath an old cinema sign on Stoke Newington Road. Head downstairs and find yourself in a small but perfectly formed room, complete with carefully distressed walls, a reclaimed bar and wooden floors. The tattered decor lays the foundation for a laid back atmosphere, and pays homage to the speakeasies of the 1920s.
The Atmosphere & Clientele:
Despite its positioning at the very core of Dalston, Ruby's was not heaving with skinny jeans and twirling moustaches; rather, it pulled in a crowd of couples and groups, aged from mid twenties to early thirties and leaning towards the creative sort. A night out at Ruby's is a seated affair, and the vibe is casual and civilised: drinks are happily served to your table, and there is a no-standing at the bar policy - an inspired approach that works well in the small and intimate space. A chilled out soundtrack offers a pleasant backdrop to proceedings, allows friends to reminisce, lovers to connect and the recently dumped to cry into their cocktails.
Ruby's cocktail menu is as simple as it is genius. Six cocktails, all well executed versions of the classic originals, are available on a six week rotation. We sampled ther Blackberry Mojito: a plummy delight with blackberries, blueberries, lime, mint and an almighty wallop of rum. Although sublime, the Blackberry Mojito was not our favourite of the night - rather, the Maui Margarita was an outright winner. With every sip, the delicious kick of volcanic salt was followed by the gentle burn of tequila and the fruity flavours of pineapple and lime.
Also a top choice was the Bloody Ruby: a re-imagining of the classic Bloody Mary, blood orange juice replaces the humble tomato, and egg-white is the secret froth-inducing ingredient. With chilli-based cocktails, balance is paramount: too much chilli and one splutters the drink, too little and the chilli loses its purpose - I can happily report that Ruby's Chilli Apple Martini was perfectly executed.
But, it is not all about cocktails at Ruby's: they offer a good selection of ales, all with a cheeky local twist (Shoreditch Blonde anyone?). The wine list covers all the bases and the beer and cider options are more than enough to satisfy those that give cocktails a wide berth.
Ruby's is a quirky bar with a relaxed vibe enhanced by the friendly and approachable staff. This bar is a welcome addition to the collection of speakeasy bars that we have come to know and love. Ruby's attention to detail and focus on quality is evident in the decor and the drinks; in particular the cocktails which are the jewel in Ruby's crown. Once there, you will not want to leave until the lights go out!