Welcome to Williamsburg, New York…or the nearest thing you’ll get to it in London. Love & Liquor is situated not in Hoxton or the West End or any of the usual suspects for a classy cocktail joint, but in Kilburn. And on the High Street, no less.
Sunk into the deep leather booths, your taste buds are guaranteed to stay in the States with the selection of 1920’s NYC era cocktails (Sidecar, Manhattan) served alongside some twisted classics, such as The Smoked Old Fashioned. However, the in-house infused pomegranate-vodka-based Cosmo certainly tops the list. Accompanied by friendly table service and servings of home-made paprika popcorn, it’s easy to stay out way past your bedtime. As the evening progresses, the lights dim lower and the beats get harder. It’s a haunt with a hedonistic hint.
A venue that warrants exploration, there’s a raised VIP section and the ‘Volstead Lounge’, a separate room with its own bar, for spendy groups who want to grab some privacy. Hidden away within the bars walls is ‘The Mighty Booth’, a totally free photobooth for you (and as many of your friends who can fit in) to pick up keepsake photos. You can also upload on Facebook or e-mail to yourself (although negotiating this while suitably inebriated will pose quite a challenge).
The brick and iron interior convincingly emulates the feel of a Brooklyn basement bar. The venture is backed by some serious creative powerhouses, and it shows. From a walled-up window, a mesmerising beauty, hand-chipped from plaster by talented Portuguese street artist Vhils overlooks the main floor, while the music is directed under the eyes (and ears) of Creative Director Clement ‘Clem’ Ogbonnaya (Selfridges, Nike). Add some Alex Randall neon installations (with playfully deployed taxidermy pigeons) to this heady mix and the result is a perfect urban playground.
By the way, the maximum we could fit into that photobooth was three. Let us know if you fare better.
Love & Liquor is at 34 Kilburn High Road, London, NW6 5UA. Telephone: 020 8969 0098. Open Fridays 8pm-2am and Saturdays 8pm-3am.