Popping out for a drink isn't always what it’s cracked up to be - when we go out, we all want more. Whether it's cocktails topped with cheeseburgers, playing mini golf in an abandoned warehouse, or drinking in a prison cell, we want to be taken to the next level. So, how about a bit of gaming nostalgia, mixed with a few cocktails? Good job we've got Four Quarters East.
The Venue & Atmosphere
Their second venue after the original in good ol' Peckham Rye, this one's based in an industrial unit along the canals of Hackney Wick. The decor is minimal, drawing more attention to the colourful collection of arcade machines and pinball tables lining the concrete walls. Living up to its name, £1 gets you four American quarters to use on the arcade cabinets dotted around the room - I got to play Crazy Taxi for the first time since my childhood, and I definitely hogged that one most of the night.
The tables are not your standard Formica get up: some have games installed that will keep you entertained through several pints of craft beer. There's also three console booths with everything from Playstation to Sega Mega Drive, so you can spend a heap of time racing the tracks of Crash Team Racing, or speeding round Green Hill Zone with Sonic the Hedgehog.
You really don’t need to be a hardcore gamer to have fun here, and the staff certainly make sure you feel at ease too; offering advice on which games to try and helping you out when you get stuck on levels (because you don’t really know what you’re doing but you’re having fun anyway). Arriving at 7pm on a Friday night it was already fairly busy: all booths and tables were taken, and the venue does encourage pre-booking the booths as they get snapped up quick.They also have some amazing Happy Hour deals from 5-7pm, so it's a no-brainer really.
Definitely not our usual setting for a Friday night of cocktails, Four Quarters stood out to me as a place where we could expect nostalgic fun and a chance to let our inner-children run wild - with a drink or two in hand. The fun bar menu is cleverly sectioned into different ‘gaming levels’: Desert World, Sky World, Sea World, where you can order quirky cocktails like Donkey Kong's Tropical Punch (£9), and our favourite cocktail of the evening, Citrus Bitch (£10) - Absolut Limon Vodka, Briottet grapefruit liquer, Angosturo Bitters, ginger bitters, grapefruit bitters, lime juice & ginger ale from the Woodland World collection. It was a long, sweet yet sharp mix of fruity flavours - clearly merited the name and easy to enjoy during those gaming breaks.
Four Quarters may not instantly stand out as a cocktail destination, but the quality and creativeness of the drinks really put it on the map for me. The only thing missing were some bar snacks, which we just missed out on past 7pm. If you're lucky and get in on time they offer a mix of sandwiches, of meat/cheese plates.
Continuing on drinks, I opted for a Gin Basil Smash (£10) made from Sipsmith dry gin, lime juice, basil sugar, grapefruit bitters and a basil leaf. The basil and the gin combined to create a wonderfully aromatic drink, which was also sweet enough to satisfy my notorious need for sugar. My friend opted for stronger fare in the shape of a Desert Negroni (£10), a slightly sweeter version of the standard Negroni as it mixes ‘Ilegal mezcal’ instead of the usual gin with Campari and Vermouth. Now boozed up and on a sugar/adrenaline rush, we decided we should hop home.
You don’t have to come down for the games, as it’s clear to see the bar team are just as passionate about their cocktail fare - but they're definitely a winning point. Arcade buff or not, Four Quarters East offers a cool place to unwind and have fun, even if you’re losing every single game against your partner. It’s fun taking part and reliving your youth spent in arcades glued to zombie killing games and pinball machines instead of your phones.