The Ninth Ward is a hunky yet homely venue with almost every inch of wall and floor embellished with rustic wood - think western saloon come classic boozer; and I was there to get a load of the good stuff.
The bar is decorated with ornate stained-glass windows, a prominent and gorgeous statue and industrial looking pumps that deliver that all-important golden nectar. While these pumps are unmarked, a member of staff will run through their draft beverages, some that include London’s finest local brews. A relatively large space in the center remains clear for post-work meet-ups and the occasional happy feet; if a casual MEAT-up is more on the agenda, then high tables and stools populate the outskirts of the room for you to get your grub on.
Reserving is supposedly limited to parties of 6 and above, but there’s plenty of places to park yourselves without a reservation if you rock up more on the early side of your night. If you like to devour your food without as many eyes on you then you’re in luck, The Ninth Ward also has a curtained-off dining area that continues the rustic vibe.
The Food & Drink
The Ninth Ward spoils you for choice when it comes to drink, with 15 ice cold beers on tap and over 50 varieties bottled in the fridge - that’s without even talking about the barmy variety of cocktails on offer. We opted to start with the punchy Ward’s Hurricane (£8), a unique spin on a true staple of any cocktail menu and the Tequila Mockingbird (£9) - which tastes as good as that pun sounds.
The Ninth Ward’s food menu is comprised of hearty and wholesome dishes that have a focus on meaty burgers and classic sides. While renowned for their crazy combination of chocolate hazelnut spread, beef and pork, better known as the infamous Chocolate Bacon Burger (£12) we opted for their Veggie Burger (£7.50) which touts itself as something even carnivores could enjoy. They weren’t wrong either, producing arguably one of the scrummiest vegetarian burgers i've had in the city. The Ninth Ward’s meat-free addition has the succulent and moist texture of your classic beef patty that marries perfectly with the soft brioche bun and slathering of melted cheese - if you’re looking for something a little less heavy than your usual beef tower, don’t be afraid to give this a spin.
We flanked our burgers with a strong selection of sides including skin-on House Fries (£3) and the inevitable Mac N Cheese (£4.50) that had a welcome topping of crunchy cheese and can be further improved with a dollop of pulled pork. We also opted for a dash of seafood from the Salted Squid (£6.50) which comes with a ridiculously tasty garlic, chilli and mayo dip that adds a sweet and smoky flavour to the fresh squid, it goes great with the chips too.
We rounded off all that food with several more cocktails - the refreshing Finny Gizz (£7.50) and the brave Silvertown Fizz (£8) that somehow manages to stuff egg whites, cream, chamomile and gin successfully into the same glass. It’s clear that The Ninth Ward enjoys a walk on the wild side with its menu offerings, managing to pull off some barmy flavour combinations against all forms of logic. It’s also worth noting that The Ninth Ward also has a slightly reduced menu for lunchtime grazing that seems to do away with seafood options and the intimidating Voodoo Roulette wing challenge (£7.50), instead offering a really great lunchtime deal on burgers and sodas. Whether it’s a bout of post-shift drinks with a portion of Hot Wings (£7) to pick at, or a full-blown dinner date with cocktails, the Ninth Ward will have you covered on all fronts.
The Ninth Ward is clearly popular, as we saw on the night. Not only do the low lighting and wooden interior gives off a real sense of community (kind of like a wild-west saloon), it's mirrored in the laid back and friendly staff. Not to say they’re all sporting cowboy hats mind you, more that they’ll comfortably suggest the top dishes on the menu, or slip you some smoky tabasco to liven up your Mac N Cheese. It can get rowdy (especially on Friday nights) and the space isn’t one of the largest in the local area but as mentioned previously, if you arrive towards the earlier side of the evening you’ll definitly grab a space to call your own.
The Ninth Ward provides a seriously cool location to both wet your whistle and fill your belly, no matter the direction of your night. It describes itself as restaurant of ‘interesting booze, wholesome food and fun’ and delivered handsomely on all accounts - you’ll want to try a bit of everything all at once, just trust us and save it for your inevitable second and third visits instead.