The latest to join the trend of bars opening within bars. Venture into the cavernous underbelly of Broadway Market’s ‘Off Broadway’, head through a disguised door in the unisex toilets and you’ll find yourself in the intimate, seafaring surroundings of Portside Parlour.
Infusing inspirational knick knacks from the high seas and Sydney, it is as unique in its surroundings as its selection of rum based beverages. The décor is pleasantly sophisticated without being overly exclusive. Bringing together sunken couches, deep red velvet, cushioned benches and some great nautically inspired ornaments that give the impression of being in a captain’s cabin. The brooding candlelight makes for a wonderfully intimate vibe; intimate being the operative word as it is very small, only seating around 25-30 drinkers.
Portside Parlour has all the allure of top secret bars in London.
The Atmosphere and Clientele
The Broadway Market location of the bar, coupled with its status as a ‘secret pop-up’, inevitably draws in many of East London’s creative types. However the price and overwhelmingly cosy vibe draws in a bit of an older crowd too. The low-ceilings and close seating can make it feel a cramped at busy times but this also ensures that the bar does not become too raucous, making it perfect for those looking to have a conversation over their drinks without needing to shout too much.
The music is tasteful and in the background, allowing the focus to be on socialising, whilst the attentive table service and can-do attitude of the staff makes for a welcoming atmosphere.
With an intimate setting, Portside Parlour would be ideal for a date night in London.
The selection of rums on offer is impressive to say the least, and the warming nature of many of the concoctions makes it an ideal retreat from the cold. Sourced from all around the globe, from the strong Jamaican Appleton Estate 21 year to the moreish Venezuelan Santa Teresa Rhum Orange they have all the bases covered.
In addition to the range of straight rum shots they offer a list of six permanent cocktails. I thought I’d go for the Old Fashioned, containing Appleton Estate 12 Year, infused with bitters and orange rind; it amalgamated in a great taste with a notable kick. My drinking partner opted for the Mai Tai, one of the lighter options that tastes easily as good with Appleton Estate VX, curacao, lime and oregat syrup, lovely and sweet and laced with fresh mint.
‘Winter Warmer’ sharing cocktails are also on offer, proving quite cost-effective at £12 for two sharing and £24 for four. Of course a range of beer and wine is on the menu for those that don’t wish to dabble in delights of the rum.
The rums and crafted drinks make Portside Parlour stand out as one of London's top cocktail bars.
Having visited my fair share of East London bars I must say that Portside Parlour have shown exactly how it should be done. High quality drinks in an effortlessly cool environment, plus the knowledge and overall willingness of the staff makes the experience that bit better. Plus we all love a secret bar, don’t we.