Anyone who has ever passed Liverpool Street station on Bishopsgate knows the infamous Dirty Dicks, but very few people know the secret that lies beneath. Named after Will Barker - wine and brandy merchant and former owner of the Old Jerusalem pub which he later re-opened as Dirty Dicks -WM Barker & Co is the elusive hangout you'll find hiding below street level.
So now you know where it is, look for the neon lights and head down to the basement bar. WM Barker & Co has an industrial feel but you’ll find it surprisingly warm and welcoming. Take a look around and you’ll see lots of wood, exposed brick, miss-matched chairs and Will Barker’s initials in bright, glowing lights.
For a basement bar there's actually a decent amount of space and plenty of seats to settle into. The bar staff are smartly dressed and attentive; it's all looking good!
Food and Drinks
Now, this place is all about the cocktails. They have an extensive menu and I intended to do my bit and put in the time to do some research. As well as the classic cocktails you’ll find everywhere, WM Barker & Co also features a special cocktail collection, with each one named after a famous Londoner (a nice tribute to the city we all love).
I’m a fan of my rock so I went straight in for the king Ozzy Ozbourne (Hibiki whisky, Jameson whisky, Champagne syrup, tropical shrub, passion fruit puree, dragon fruit, lime). I wasn’t disappointed. Delicious and packing a mighty punch, it suited my sweet tooth down to the ground. My drinking buddy tonight has a soft spot for Bond, so naturally she got the night started with a Daniel Craig (cantaloupe infused Beefeater gin, Martini Dry, Cayenne Pepper, Thyme, Proscuttio wrapped melon). I won’t lie, we enjoyed these both so much that we ordered the same again... and then had one more just to make sure.
Other notable cocktails were the Princess Diana (Sipsmith Gin, Lavender syrup, mango & passion fruit froyo, lime, vanilla syrup, passion fruit, lavender sprig) and the David Bowie (Mount Gay rum, Havana 3yr, Blue Caracao, pineapple shrub, muddled kiwi, pineapple juice, orgeat, lime, dehydrated pineapple, Wray & Nephews flamed kiwi).
If sweet concoctions aren't your bag? Don't worry, WM Barker & Co also has a decent wine list (from around £20 a bottle) and a selection of craft beers, too.
There's limited food on offer at WM Barker's (let's be honest, it's not what you're here for), but when you're looking for something to soak up all this booze, their toasties go down a storm.
We arrived around 7.30 on a Friday night. Not surprisingly being a basement bar and it being sunny (for England, it was about 20 degrees!) outside, a lot of people were making the most of it and, in true London fashion, drinking on the streets outside. It was relatively quiet when we entered, but this worked in our favour as we were able to secure a great area before cracking on through the cocktail list.
WM Barker & Co got busier as the night wore on, filling up with a mix of groups of friends, colleagues enjoying a few cocktails after work and couples on date night, too. As the crowds got louder the music did to and, by the time we left at 1am, it was buzzing. I'd tip getting there early or booking in advance to save an area to make your own for the night.
WM Barker & Co is a cracking bar and deserves to be busier earlier in the evening, which I'm sure it will be as soon as 'the summer' is over. Perfect for catching up with friends, it's one of those bars that you go in "for a quick one" and end up staying all night!