Trade Union is under the umbrella of Grand Union and it’s been rumoured to mirror the fun and laid-back atmosphere of its older siblings. With a more than stressful week behind me, I was rooting for the whispers to be true.
I’m gonna cut right to the chase; Trade Union has a slide, and not just any slide at that. This nostalgia stirring piece of equipment is indoors. It’s the first thing you’ll see as you pass their threshold, alongside a barber's, a florist selling colourful arrangements and an all day coffee bar that can double up as a Mojito bar for private events. They even have their own Great Harlot Club out the back with its own private entrance for special events. But back to the slide. You know was well as I do that London restaurants and bars are constantly chasing ideas to make their venue unique, and it's a breath of fresh air to see one actually pull it off.
Seeing as we were only here for a Friday night knees-up and had no special bashes planned to rent out The Great Harlot Club, we sat at one of the brightly coloured booths that are tucked underneath the floor to ceiling windows. The venue itself has a lot of character and the layout is comfortably spacious. From my visit, it seems that the booths are reserved for sit down meals while the area surrounding the bar is left free for people to dance around.
The Food and Drink
Although Trade Union have their own pizza counter called Bushwick Pizza Co., we opted for their Grand Smorgas platter £26. You know how the saying goes, folks: variety is the spice of life. About 20 minutes after ordering, straight out of the kitchen and onto our table came a slap up selection of crab mayo with sourdough bread, Atlantic cod goujons, mini caesar salad, spicy chicken wings and a bone marrow burger. The wings came slathered in a fiery sauce with plenty of meat clinging to the bone, the crab wasn’t dense with mayo, but light and refreshing with the cod goujons coming enveloped in a golden coating. Not a massive meat fan, I gave the burger a miss but the salad was more than enough to feed our hungry mouths.
Drinks wise, we started off our night with a bottle of Vaporetto Prosecco £25. After we drained our last few refreshing mouthfuls of fizz, our crumb coated lips moved onto the cocktail menu. A creature of habit, I went for Trade’s Old Fashioned £9. Their recipe uses one of my favourite bourbons, Woodford Reserve, making my decision a no-brainer. It came served in an ice-cold glass and carried smokey and sweet tones. It turns out that my partner in crime is also a creature of habit, inevitably ordering a classic Margarita £9. The rim was coated with salt and carried that alcoholic punch you look for in any classic cocktail. With a concise selection of cocktails to choose from, you’re bound to find your poison at this Wapping watering hole.
Sat in our spacious booth overlooking the sea of people in front of us, it became clear that Trade Union caters largely for the office blocks towering around it. There were plenty of men and women sharply dressed; having said that, we were sat beside a group of men dressed in their work day gladrags (who we later shared a shot of tequila with). Given its location, this Wapping spot is inevitably going to be popular amongst the 9-5 folk, but its fun-time ambience lures in a party crowd from the surrounding areas.
Let’s get real; adulting is hard. One day your mum is picking you up from a junior disco, the next you find yourself doing your tax returns and opting into a pension. If you, like me, need to let loose every once in awhile, head to Trade Union. A couple of cocktails here will have you sliding away from your worries in no time.