Known to many as “that little red place” The Redchurch bar is not the sort of place I’d normally review on this blog. However, with its promise of luxury beers and extravagant cocktails and punches, I had to check it out.
Ambience and Décor
Situated on the crux of Brick Lane and Bethnal Green road the Redchurch bar’s warm glow is quite a cozy and attractive sight on a chilly London evening. Yet if you blinked, you’d be forgiven for walking past the small black shop front without noticing much through its steamed up windows.
Inside is narrow and bathed in a plastic red glow borrowed directly from an Amsterdam knocking shop. Probably. Ahem. As it was early on a Wednesday evening we found sitting in one of the cozy booths to be pleasant enough. But on Friday and Saturday nights when it’s open well into the wee hours, don’t expect to find a quiet spot for chilling and chatting. We took time to appreciate the many peculiar decorations that adorn the walls and ceiling. A large bearskin rug hangs high above the bar skirting the ceiling while baring its teeth at you as you order your cocktail. The whole place is full of little touches like this.
Clientele and Atmosphere
During the week, there is a pretty relaxed atmosphere - perfect to have a quiet catch up. Small groups of friends come to take advantage of the excellent cocktails and well-made punches while making themselves comfortable in the sociable church pew style booths. Primarily the narrow range of music favours a slightly older crowd. Due to the size of the place, it gets pretty squished at times like this and even if you were lucky enough to get a table you wouldn’t expect a particularly relaxing time. The red light and all-in-together quarters make for a slight speakeasy feel – almost like just being there is slightly naughty in itself.
Drinks and Food
The cocktail list is a joy to flick through. There’s something for everyone on it so whether you like the deep and complex flavour of a bourbon dominated Old Fashioned or the spicy kick in the Bloody Mary you’re in good hands. Not only that, the menu gives a slight twist on the classic versions too. Why have the classic mojito you’ve had a thousand times when you can have the Redchurch version made with gingerbread and elderflower? We didn’t get to try the punch bowls (they are for 4-20 people) but the barman here do such a great job of the cocktails we drank that I wouldn’t think twice about ordering one – despite the hefty £9 price tag per person.
The choice of beers doesn’t quite match the long list of cocktails, but if it’s a beer you want, there’s a few for you to choose from. The same can be said for the food; if you’re looking for gourmet bites it’s probably not the place for you, but the bar snacks definitely serve their purpose.
A bizarre mix of oldie rock classics dominated the evening’s soundwaves – not what I was expecting at all. There were a few upbeat funky “ring my bell” type tunes thrown in for good measure too. Rock and roll meets soul and Latin. Its weird but brave in equal measure.
The Redchurch is a nice, relaxed place to take the load off during the week with a beautifully made cocktail. It might not be cheap but the cocktails are certainly worth it and there’s always the punch bowl option if you want to cater for a larger group. Most definitely one to check out if in the area.