A charismatic party bar that excels in lighthearted conversation and artfully prepared beverages, Be At One Islington boasts a reputation far beyond its capital-wide expanse. Having recently discovered the assets of the Angel boozing scene, I decided it was high time to pay an old friend another visit.
We entered a room of sleek black tiling and dark wooden panelling, occupying a space somewhere between an Oxbridge reading room and a Victorian public lavatory, as my guest so eloquently described it. We began to peruse the menu and look upon the tables scattered throughout the space: Be At One Islington is a good looking venue although thoroughly understated, a charming balance that adds to its all round accessibility.
The Atmosphere & Clientele:
A previous visit to a South London branch had ever so slightly tainted my opinion of the trusted chain of cocktail providers; their insistence on repeatedly playing Daft Punk's Get Lucky at an unsociable volume grew a little tiresome, particularly pre-party-watershed. This time however, my friends and I enjoyed a much needed catch up over an enjoyable soundtrack of 60's rock and roll hits - just the set to get us in the mood to embark on a raucous cocktail session.
The venue was surprisingly quiet for the Wednesday night on Upper Street; we caught the end of Happy Hour, admittedly a huge pull for those wanting to taste the boozy rainbow without leaving their wallet in tatters. The staff were wonderfully attentive as usual; interested, but in no way overbearing. Always ones to crack a joke as they show off their mixological flair, and always on hand to mop up the result of an over-excited cocktail drowning, our new friends were all smiles throughout our visit.
Us thirsty rabbits were growing a little parched: it was time to order some drinks. We began with a double helping of a Dark & Stormy, a generous blend of dark rum and ginger beer, set off with a hint of lime and delivering a ginger-fuelled kick that would almost certainly spark us into a rum-induced whirl of experimentation.
Keen to test out the talents of our master mixologist, we challenged his craft to produce 'something-sweet-and-fruity-but-light-with-lots-of-vodka-in-it' and 'something-not-too-sweet-with-a-bit-of-a-kick-made-with-gin-please'. Quick as a flash, we were supping on bespoke blends of spirits and waxing lyrical about the talents of our bartender. We were hooked, but decided to round off our night with the booziest concoction we could find - the Cuban Zombie, crafted from three blends of Havana rum, Marachino liqueur, passion fruit syrup, Grenadine, bitters and other such fruity goodness.
Although often overlooked by alleged connoisseurs in favour of pricier, more pretentious options, Be At One Islington comes up trumps. Promising a jovial atmosphere, top quality service and a flawless attention to detail, Be At One brings the masterful art of mixology to the thirsty and budget conscious masses of London.