It’s that time of year when leaves on the track might leave you stranded in London after work with a few hours to kill, and conveniently around the corner from Kings Cross station you will find the perfect place to spend an evening, with some of the most lucious libations to warm your cockles this Autumn.
It might look like a pretty standard pub from the outside, with dark wooden window frames, gilded glass and outdoor seating, but the decor of this cocktail bar is anything but.
Rather, the deep navy blue walls and glistening mirrors that line each wall make for a classy vibe, made all the more chicer with the parquet floor and a few well placed leather armchairs. There is a secret walled garden out the back, and below a basement which hosts characterful bathrooms and the odd party. The lights hanging above the bar (which sits in the middle of the room) are dim, and create a mellow atmosphere, though the noise of post-work chatter brings it back up to the excited level you’d expect from a cocktail bar like this.
The Food & Drink
It’s no wonder the chatter is excited, because the cocktail menu is really something special. There are plenty of drinks to choose from, and our waitress Margot provided a helping hand when it came to choosing the best that The Racketeer has to offer.
I began with the Penicillin In A Storm, a long drink served in a frosted miniature glass tankard, made with Chivas Regal 12 Blended Scotch, Ginger syrup, Lemon, Laphroaig and Porter Float for £8.50, while my drinking companion opted for a Boulvardier (£8.50), created with Wild Turkey 101 Bourbon, Campari and Dolin Rouge, served short and elegant, with a colour like mahogany and a warming taste perfect for the season. Mine was a complex mix of exceptional warming flavours, with a punch of ginger and a nip of sharp lemon. On the surface, a thick head of icy, boozy foam created texture. This cocktail has gone through 5 regenerations, with the creator providing little tweeks here and there to perfect the drink. I’d say he’s cracked it. It is unique, complex and hearty and up there with one of the most delicious (and best value) cocktails I’ve tried this year.
Feeling peckish, we ordered their charcuterie and cheese board (£16), complete with a selection of intensely flavoured meats including bresaola and salami, and beautiful Androuet cheeses including a thick, silky blue which was accompanied with a fierce and delicious chilli jam and fresh bread. With a few cornichons to complete the board, this made for a delicious and flavour packed supper. Boards of both exclusive cheese and meat are also available, but the mixed board is certainly your best value.
Margot also recommended a few other cocktails once we finished our platter, including the ‘Rack a Daq’, once again served short for my pal with a rum base and a grapefruit pale ale syrup accompaniment, and for me the Pineapple Daiquiri (£10) which she sold to me as tasting like “Californian Sunshine”, and she wasn’t wrong; the sweet, light freshness was so well balanced (like a Cali gal doing yoga) and rounded the evening off perfectly.
Cocktail bars in London are not in limited supply, but if you’re looking for a bar which has really dedicated itself to innovation, creativity and consideration in their drinks then The Racketeer is worthy of a visit. The space lends itself perfectly to a date night with its sultry decor, but you wouldn’t be out of place if you’re only looking for a casual tipple after work or a venue to celebrate a special occasion.