Experimental Cocktail Club, Chinatown

Experimental Cocktail Club London
Liquor me up, Mister

The Vibe

‘If you’re not on the list, you’re not getting in’ is a phrase that curdles the blood of any seasoned London drinker. Despite the many failed attempts to enter the halls of exclusive drinking dens, we continue to forget to call, email or tweet in advance to secure a spot. At the Experimental Cocktail Club, the finest, chicest and earliest of the swanky prohibition bar-style bars, you will have to either know the doorman or have contacted them in advance to secure your spot. Although walk-ins are permitted, it involves a certain amount of charm and finesse to talk your way in, something you may want to reserve for the date itself. The bar screams fin-de-siècle opulence, spread over three floors with exposed brickwork, intricate wallpaper, smouldering lighting and a piano bar (without the nuisance of a piano player). There are loveseats to lounge in, which are shaped to allow you to either chat intensely or pet away merrily. With an original ECC in Paris, many of the barmen here are French and the overall vibe is one of slow motion debauchery, with a reassuring pinch of attitude.

The Order

There’s nothing exactly experimental about the drinks on offer, they serve the classics plus a few wild cards but do them well and make them strong. The place demands a bit of theatre with your choices so for god’s sakes don’t go for a vodka soda lime or Pilsner, this could spell death on a date. Peacock away and order an Old Fashioned or, even better, louchely go with ‘whatever you recommend, I like my drinks short and punchy’. Prices tend to be around £15 for a cocktail so figure out how much of a long haul this is going to be and budget accordingly.

The Game

The place closes at 3am and feels more elicit the later you go so this is the final stage to the evening. Ideally, take your date to dinner in Soho beforehand, somewhere like Bocca di Lupo where you can eat late and then head to ECC for midnight. In the spirit of the twenties, assume traditional gender roles at the restaurant (men pay, women graciously accept) but once you hit the bar work it in rounds as this means you can be adventurous and pick for each other (‘surprise me’). It’s nice to move around in this joint so have the first round by the bar, the next on the loveseats and the final ones on a cosy sofa. You’d be a fool not to try anything whilst in the bar, as the final 30 minutes should be spent in lip-lock. Alternatively, if you have the pleasure of living nearby, wait till you are kicked out and take it back to theirs.

The Faults

Granted it’s expensive but no more so than a central London cocktail bar. The door-policy can be trying so, as mentioned, just lock down the organisational titbits before you arrive.

Sex Factor

5+. With the right person, you’ll never want to leave, but once you do, there’s somewhere you can go.

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