Anywhere that Justin Bieber waltzes into on a casual Wednesday night is absolutely okay with me. I'm only horribly bitter that I discovered this Farringdon beau the day after... God damn you Thursday (love you Justin).
A haven for home-made bitters, syrups and infused spirits, Clerkenwell & Social sits pretty in Farringdon. Reflecting the literary heritage of its location this bar is a den of classic novels and works of prose where books hang from the ceiling and a quote from Oscar Wilde glows in neon on the wall. Spread over 3 floors and boasting a sweet heated terrace, this unsupposing bar may seem ordinary from the outside but it packs a punch inside. Somewhere between rustic and contemporary, it's perfect for catch up sessions with friends with tall tables and booths to shack up. There's a low-lit, brooding basement bar and an upstairs space that's ideal for private parties (or Justin Bieber's entourage) where you can experience more of the restaurant side of the venue.
The Food & Drink
With a drinks menu titled 'The Clerkenwell Tales', you expect great classics to be in store. And they are. Bidding farewell to Chaucher and bringing something original to the traditional cocktail table, you'll find all great adaptations in their drinks scripture. We started the night off with The Oscar Wilde (£8.95) for a taste of something a little refined twist on your classic Bellini; prosecco, nectarine and elderflower, peach purée and home-made stone fruit bitters. Next up was a mix-up of your favourite porn star martini called the Pride & Passion Martini (£8.95) with all the traditional components plus vanilla syrup and their own house infused vodka making for one fine drink.
Following this was their I See Lychee (£8.95) concoction which was a perfect and pretty little number coming with a wisp of fluffy candyfloss garnishing it as well as a plump raspberry perched on the side. Probably our favourite of the night and well recommended by our waitress, this Gin based beauty was not only sweet but a packed a chilli kick and was a picture to behold too.
Shelves behind the bar are lined with bespoke bottles and hand labelled spirits specially distilled by Clerkenwell & Social. With no prompting of our own, the hero of a manager delivered 2 white chocolate vodka shots to our delight. Something like a shot of liquid ganache, this went down with a sweet, smooth kick. Straight up next was a cheeky caramel tequila number which was quite literally a shot of rich caramel goodness.
Food comes of the Italian persuasion here where authentic pizzas and some pretty damn tasty arancini balls steal the show. Pizza depends on personality - no matter what is on offer, you always go for the same one, maybe splash an extra topping on if you're feeling it. Personally, anything with rocket and Prosciutto (£12) always gets my vote and with my friend, it was the spicy Nduja sausage and pancetta pizza (£12). Both more than satisfied any rustic Italian expectations.
Having ventured down on Thursday evening, Clerkenwell & Social propped up the perfect setting for relaxed dining and cocktail supping. With a playlist of old school disco and House tunes, the music made an ideal backdrop for your typical 'thirsty Thursday' endeavours. Busy enough for a good atmosphere but not rammed, this bar makes for a relaxed drinks setting where grabbing a bite to eat is easy and reasonable. Also, Justin Bieber was here 21/10/2015.
Everything from the staff to the music was totally on point for a Thursday night in London. Putting a fresh spin on classic cocktails is no easy feat but Clerkenwell & Social do it with elegant ease where their mixology is based on house infused spirits, hand crafted syrups and dashes of bold flavour. With an Italian manager at the helm too, it's no wonder the food here is so god damn good (arancini balls are a must). The tales of Clerkenwell & Social are something of a best seller in my opinion. See for yourself.