Yeah, it’s summer. And yeah, I should be out soaking up some vitamin D at any given opportunity, but despite your common beliefs, summer in London isn’t all about rooftops and al fresco drinking. There are some buzzing basement bars with heavenly air conditioning and killer cocktails, and Demon, Wise and Partners just so happens to hold both of these aces.
The Venue and Atmosphere
Just because we saw the hottest day in 40 years a couple of weeks back, doesn’t mean summer in London is all that. We have that type of hormonal weather that requires you to wear clothes with deep pockets so you carry around a compact brolly for shelter insurance. In the wise words of my secondary school teacher: ‘if you fail to plan Leighanne, you plan to fail’. That’s where the mighty basement bar comes into play. Sheltered, air conditioned and protected from the elements, it will never let you down. Not able for one more ray of sunshine on my milk bottle skin, Demon, Wise and Partners came to my midweek rescue. Located near Liverpool Street this underground lair spoke nothing but luxury from the minute we passed its threshold. Cosy booths with leather lined seating were lit up by glowing retro lamps alongside intimate tables for two with velvet seating, bauble-like light features hung from the ceiling and a beautiful brass bar counter was lovingly wrapped around the bar space. From the clientele, I gathered it as a place where bitching, business, stealing kisses and the swapping of secrets are constantly rife.
The Cocktails and Sharing Boards
If there’s a new menu hitting one of London’s best bars, chances are - I know about it before the bartenders do. When I got wind of Demon, Wise and Partners sprucing up their libation list, I tore down Liverpool Street with more gusto than the Tasmanian Devil. Sitting down and flicking through the pages of the well-rounded list, it was inevitable that myself and my date ordered The Wise £16 and The Demon £16. Interestingly, the bar has a countdown from 100 to showcase how many more of these two signature serves can be created. The Wise was at 46, and I’d happily return to make that number even lower. Coming accompanied with tortilla chips coated in spices, chipotle sauce, freshly cut limes and a chilled shot of Ocho Blanco (that’s to be sipped not gulped), it was a visual masterpiece. The drink itself was made with Ocho Reposado tequila, fresh lime and house spiced syrup; sharp and zingy, it’s one of the best twists on Tommy’s Margarita I’ve ever come across. The Wise on the the other hand was a twist on the Brooklyn, served with a piece of ice large enough to sink the Titanic. Wickedly strong, this Woodford Reserve based cocktail was made for slow drinking and appreciation.
Promising ‘a decadent chocolate and Champagne pairing’, How ‘Bout That £12 hollered from Demon, Wise and Partner’s menu with infectious confidence. Grey Goose Vodka was mixed with strawberry and black pepper syrup and lime, with a generous splash of Champagne to finish. The crowning glory of this drink is owed to the bites of homemade milk chocolate punctured with teensy balls of pepper in between sips. It enhanced the flavour of the strawberry syrup massively and it helped resurrect unexpected notes from start to finish. The Deep Truffle £12 was my date’s next drink and it was the most impressive drink of the night. I only had one sip as Tom guarded it with his life, but the flavours played hopscotch on my palate like a giddy child. Made with truffle-infused Woodfood Reserve bourbon, Frangelico, mushroom tincture, walnut bitters and Maldon sea salt, the drink had more layers to it than an onion. Smooth and hard-hitting, this whisky cocktail is a must order.
With the clock ticking on, The Naughty Gingerbread Man £12 ended up being my last drink of the night. The retro milk bottle presentation coupled with the creamy combo of Bacardi Carta Blanca Rhum, coconut milk, ginger syrup and creme de cacao made it a nostalgia-stirring tipple, whisking me back to the days of sippin’ milk while watching the Looney Tunes at my kitchen table. While I went for a dessert based drink, Tom hit the tarmac running for another whisky number. The Rising Sun £12 was blended with Suntory Hibiki Harmony Japanese, matcha syrup, lemon, lime, absinthe, egg white and soda and proved itself to be zingy and palate cleansing.
Demon, Wise and Partners also have a handful of tasty sharing platters on offer and to be frank, they came in quite handy when we hit cocktail number two. Ordering a cheese and charcuterie board, both were on the money with flavour and offering. For me, the gorgonzola, prosciutto and goat’s cheese were the highlights, but we finished everything in front of us, there wasn’t a speck of cheese or meat in sight.
I don’t think there’s a superlative to describe the cocktails at Demon, Wise and Partners. I fell flat on my face in love for The Deep Truffle (even though I only had one sip), drinking The Naughty Gingerbread Man was like entering a time machine and I’m highly considering putting a picture of The Demon as my screensaver. Take my been-there-done-that advice and book a table at this basement hideaway immediately.