When a defunct meat packing factory on Whitby Street became available in 2003, the owners of Les Trois Garcons jumped on it and turned it into a cocktail bar decorated with a crazy mish-mash of curiosities, anatomical diagrams and glittering chandeliers.
Welcome to Loungelover.
A large, long space, Loungelover is split into themed areas – Baroque, Gold, Red, Cage – so you can have a different experience each time you go. It’s just what the hipsters love – eccentrically decorated, tastefully low lit and winner of so many accolades (The Evening Standard’s Bar of the Year, Observer Food Monthly’s Best Bar in Britain, Time Out’s Best Bar Design, yadda yadda yadda), it’s no wonder that people go mad for this off-beat and kitsch drinking establishment.
While surrounded by hot-house plants, a stuffed hippo’s head and vintage chandeliers, you can peruse the drinks menu. Some original concoctions can be found, but the menu is somewhat ‘safe’ – nothing too off-the-wall or ridiculously presented, these are just good, stiff drinks.
The Love Letter (Raspberry Stolichnaya, elderflower cordial and white grape juice, in a martini glass) and Black Diamond Sour (Disaronno, blackberries, lime and violet liquor over crushed ice) both got good ratings from our party, but there are plenty more exotic and punchy tipples to be had (the drinks menu is about 20 pages long!). You can order snacks and Japanese sharing plates if peckish, too.
Minimalist, Loungelover is not. A feast for the senses, yes.
Girls, take your girlfriends as it’s glitzy and glam for a girls’ night out.
Guys, it’d be a good place to take a date – Loungelover is hidden off the main roads of Shoreditch, but when you hit the alley you can’t miss the flashing pink neon signage – it’s a nice surprise off the beaten track, and will wow any newbies.
Selected cocktails are 2 for £12 “before sunset” (8pm) every day – and all evening on a Monday.
Service can be a little slow, and it gets busy. The standing area is quite small, so I’d recommend booking a table in advance (note: you may end up sharing a table).
Next on my list…
Maison Trois Garcons – the lifestyle shop and brunch spot, just round the corner that’s owned by the same people.
1 Whitby Street, London, E1 6JU