The Happenstance, the latest offering from the ever-popular Drake & Morgan group, who also own The Anthologist and The Folly, to name a few, is meant to represent “curiously good times and happy coincidences”. Well it was no coincidence that I was heading down there, but I was really hoping for happy times.
Unlike its counterparts, The Happenstance doesn’t have an obvious “theme” or décor. It’s set over two floors, with the first being the chic-looking bar: With a long drinks bar flanking one side and loads of high tables and comfy chairs and tables dotted around, it makes for a really buzzy vibe. As with a lot of their bars, The Happenstance manages to have a chic enough feel to please the City suits while also trying to be a bit quirky and cooler than other City bars. The second floor is the dining area and is one vast space; perhaps less cosy than the bar area, it still managed to maintain a good buzz and was pretty much full on a Wednesday evening. It has a casual NYC laid back feel to it with long canteen style tables mixed in with smaller circulars, as well as cool drop lights and the same exposed brick work walls.
Due to the immediate popularity of The Happenstance, the bar and restaurant seemed full and therefore created a great buzz of chitter chatter and laughter. As it’s located right in the shadow of St Paul’s Cathedral there was a clear mixture of clientele. The vast majority were younger City types looking for their lively after work drink, interspersed with some tourists and people that perhaps live around the area. In a nutshell, the bar suits pretty much anyone! If you’re an East London trendster looking for the latest cool cocktail bar then perhaps not for you, but to say it’s a crowd pleaser would be an understatement.
The Food and Drink
I was genuinely surprised with the drinks menu. You can see they have put a fair bit of thought into it, and it’s paid off. The cocktail menu is littered with well-crafted cocktail ideas, from twists on classics to my favourite, Goldfish in a Bag, which was a boosted Gin and Tonic served in a bag with a goldfish (made out of orange) floating about. It’s little touches like this that show they really do want to surprise and delight their customers. I also liked their “Wine Flights”, which are a selection of 75ml pours of the more expensive and interesting wines so you can taste a variety throughout the night.
The food menu is equally as extensive but with no real theme to it. You can choose from Italian-esque sharing platters to Asian inspired noodles and delicately prepared sea-bass. Something for everyone certainly. Their idea was to create an “affordable menu of seasonal dishes inspired by the trips around the world.” We tucked into the blue cheese burger and good old bangers and mash. We weren’t blown away with the size of the dishes but the flavours and the happily affordable prices (£8-£10 mark) ensured that we walked away happy.
It looks like they’ve done it again; chic but quirky/cool décor, well-crafted cocktails, tasty food and a buzzy environment. With the enviable position looking out onto one of London’s most famous Landmarks it will be no coincidence that The Happenstance will become a City favourite and I would expect most people to leave (very) happy.