Simmons bars are the king of perfectly 'undone' cocktail joints, and this particularly eclectic escape haven, a minute from Tower Hill station, is no different. Located under a bridge, in unassuming surroundings opposite a car rental depot, this promises to deliver a very cool burst of feel-good factor. It's an authentic experience unique to London and frankly rare to find. If you're into feeling cool by just standing there, Simmons is where you need to go.
Atmosphere and Clientele
Prepare to feel like you made a wrong turn down the rabbit hole to Wonderland; kitsch/porn-esque red lighting, table lamps with tassels, wooden fireplaces with 70s gold mirrors, a tanning studio sign, wood Americana bar with 60s diner stools and children's school desks for tables - this place looks like the living room of a really groovy granny. As the eyes focus and wander, you'll also start seeing a lot of ships, globes and the odd uniform. Maybe Granny liked sailors. We arrived on a Thursday night and soaked up a woody, heady mix of hunky bartenders, Amelie Poupon bobs, and young City professionals. Thursdays also bring live music, acoustic guitars and cajon drums, leaving you with the feeling that you may have escaped to another time, another place, maybe Austin, Texas, maybe Africa, I'm not even sure anymore. But with everyone singing along to 90s renditions of Ace of Base we were all feeling very groovy in this dimly-lit joint of escapism; essentially feeling epicurean and appreciating grandma's wild little living room. In fact, this place makes me want to live nearby just so I could be a local like the standard old guy in the corner with a Cool Whisky Sour. And by the way, it’s a fantastic Whisky Sour.
Renowned on the off-beaten circuit for the 'best mojitos in London', I order two (just to be sure) that slap me across the face with how ridiculously good a classically contorted cocktail can be. It feels raw, untechnical and fresh. It's downtown Havana in a glass. Even my mate, a snobby bartender, finally mutters 'yeah, no complaints here.' Word to your other, if it ain't broke don't try fix it. Solomon, our generously bearded, rugged bartender in a check shirt (think lumbersexual), agrees. The rest of the menu is fun and filled with boozy delights like 'Sex with a Lad' - no doubt named just so ladies can request this at the bar. It's very girly and very yummy and nothing we try disappoints. Simmons are unrivalled for their quality Happy Hour deals, with craft beers on tap as cheap as £2.50, a bottle of wine or two cocktails for a tenner, and in an atmosphere like this, you’re tempted to suck the life out of the experience.
Groovy is the word. If you’re feeling like you need some genuine cool in your life, without any compromise on drinks, your wallet, atmosphere or vibe, rest assured Simmons is a trademark bar that won’t fail to deliver. Granny's promise.