The arrival of the dark and brooding cocktail bar has been a feature of the east London nightlife scene this past year, but to my mind The Dead Dolls Club stands out as the spot that started the trend. Found in the less than glamorous but eternally hipster hood that is Kingsland Road, the Dead Dolls Club brings some much needed style to the trend capital of east London.
As you’d expect from the area, the interior of the Dolls Club looks rustic and creative, the exact look the owners went for having renovated the space themselves; completely DIY. Although the space is small it does not lack intrigue, with the playfully inscribed marker sketched walls and handmade furniture the owners have given it a real personal touch.
The space has been used in a clever way, allowing customers to sit and have a quiet drink, eat or hang around the bar area without ever feeling too cramped. Those that go out often in the area will be used to having to share tables with others but unlike some similar cocktail bars these guys don’t over pack the place so you won’t be fighting for elbow room.
Having started out as a creative space specialising in set-design and events. it is of no surprise that they’ve managed to create such a fun and laid back vibe. The staff are all attractive, friendly and welcoming, creating a relaxed and inclusive atmosphere akin to being at a mate’s house for the evening.
Although The Dead Dolls Club finds itself in the heartland of hipsterville the clientele are more at the mature end of the trendy spectrum, fairly well dressed and with enough money to delve into the indulgent cocktail menu. As is often the case in a small space, visitors cluster around a handful of big communal tables that despite not offering much privacy do foster a pleasantly social vibe that permeates through the whole bar.
The Food and Drink
Being such a creative and trendy venue the Dolls Club likes to keep things moving with their menu, offering various in demand pop-ups depending on the week you choose to go. On my visit we were treated to the lightly warmed, semi brioche delights of Roll Up Roll Up. Cornish lobster rolls cooked in butter and free range panko chicken rolls served with lemon mayo and sweet chilli were incredibly tasty if not a touch on the small side.
There are a few beers and wines on the menu but the real eye catchers here are the cocktails. Fittingly given aristocratic titles they are as strong as they are luxurious. Served in a myriad of vessels including the ubiquitous jam jar and recycled milk bottles. The cocktails continue the mid-century theme, bringing together highly interesting concoctions encompassing everything you might find in your grandparents drinks cupboard.
A wonderfully refined drinking hole in the heart of London’s trendiest street, The Dead Dolls Club brings a welcome change to Dalston’s grimy exterior and the food and drink are up there with anything else you can find on Kingsland Road.