Internationally recognised, The Nightjar remains the talk of the town, four years after opening. Just a stone's throw from Old Street roundabout, this sultry spot has always aroused curiosity; the time had come for me to take a look.
Signposted only by a small placard, The Nightjar is not immediately apparent. Step inside and head down to a basement level cocktail cavern, which is dressed up to the nines with brass embellishments, dark wooden carpentry and polished black tiling. Guests are invited to settle themselves on small tables, many of which are large enough to seat between two and four. Lighting is low, which only adds to the simply seductive vibe and devilishly cool setting.
The Atmosphere and Clientele
With plenty of 'secret bars' about, The Nightjar stands apart from the rest. Playing host to regular live blues and jazz, you can't help but tap toes nod heads along with the sweet melodies. The space attracts a wide ranging clientele; a quick head swivel shows suited professionals out after work, loved-up couples romancing, and small groups, all of which span a considerable age range.
Upon entry, guests are shown to their seats and greeted with a bowl of salted popcorn and an ice cool glass of water, lightly flavoured with a hint of lemon (a nice touch). Welcoming all with a smile, a charming team of waiting staff provide impeccable service to every single customer; an important feature which contributes significantly to the luxurious atmosphere.
The Food and Drinks
The Nightjar splits its cocktail menu into subsections, each of which are infused with the spirit of a bygone era. Serving up a delicious selection of cocktails popular during the pre-prohibition, prohibition and post-war periods respectively, as well as signature and sharing cocktails, guests are spoilt for choice. Otherwise, the wine is delightful and rather reasonably priced (£18 for a bottle), plus the ever-helpful staff were more than happy to direct my friend towards a whisky that suited his taste.
The peckish can indulge in a bite from their tapas and charcuterie menu. We opted for the fried halloumi with mint and lemon, alongside a bowl of Castelvetrano olives and a serving of artisan bread with olive oil and balsamic; a delightful selection of snacks, rich and full of flavour.
Spectacularly executed, this cavern of calm carries itself with ease and flair. Although there is often a queue to enter, once you're inside, you won't be leaving anytime soon. The Nightjar is one of a kind, and there is no doubting its international pedigree.