Tequila. Even the mention of it sets off alarm bells at the memory of drunken nights and sticky club floors. However, when I heard about Gold Step, a new agave concept bar located under the hustle and bustle of Shoreditch High Street, I was intrigued. So, calling on my trusty tequila-loving comrade, we headed over to the haunt, chaser in hand, ready to give it a shot.
Fittingly named after the gilt-coloured step on the staircase down to the broody basement spot, Gold Step is the newest venture from Dream Bags Jaguar Shoes. Illuminated by a sultry pink hue, the intimate bar follows a similar decor as its upstairs sister haunt and oozes low-key cool. Simply kitted out, adornments include a row of decorative hanging lamps, a splattering of Mexican-inspired touches and an impressive collection of liqueurs and garnishes.
So far so good, but what about the cocktails? At this spot, you won’t find any of the usual tequila sunrises, margaritas or palomas. Of course they can do that for you, but this bar is far more niche than that. Instead, drinks are made to individual preference (£12 each), following a mini question and answer session. Granted, there’s a sipping menu filled with pages of offerings, each with helpful flavour profiles. But if you know nothing about tequila? Then they’ve got you covered with a testing platter (£35) to help you differentiate between the numerous variations and find the one most to your liking.
Following our own tequila 'nosing' and tasting, it was time to put the mixologist's skills to the test and try out some of their homemade agave-infused tipples. I let my friend take the lead. A fan of the spicier things in life and an avid drinker of Pisco Sours and Micheladas, a strong chilli-infused drink came her way. Created with an earthy mezcal at its basis, a peppery liqueur and additional citrus flavours gave the tipple a fresh kick, without being too sweet. Finished off with a decorative slice of dried orange, she was in her element.
As for me, my cocktail choices usually veer away from sweet and fruity drinks in preference for mojitos, espresso martinis and Old Fashioneds. Asking a few extra questions and taking into account my favourite sample from the tasting, the mezcal maestro picked a smoky, barrel-aged Añejo tequila as the foundation of the cocktail. Accompanied with soda, grapefruit and herbaceous flavours, and topped with a sprig of rosemary, it was definitely a novel way to experience tequila and went down a treat. Dare I say it, I was actually enjoying tequila.
The DesignMyNight Digest
If you’re looking for an easy spot that’ll crank out the standard, cookie-cutter G&Ts or happy hour cosmos, keep looking. However, if you want to experience some impressive mixology skills and taste tequila in a new light, then Gold Step is the place for you. With moody lighting and a laid back atmosphere, the cocktail bar will definitely ramp up your midweek drinks and *bonus* it’d also make a great spot for first-date drinks.