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69 Colebrooke Row (Bar, Restaurant)

Picture of 69 Colebrooke Row in Angel & Islington, London

69 Colebrooke Row, Essex Road, Angel & Islington, London, N1 8AA
Cuisine: Modern European
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69 Colebrooke Row Review

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What’s in a name, right? Well, fortunately for this cocktail bar, the address is! Pull out your A-Z maps, folks – we’re going exploring! This place is not so easy to find!

Ok, ok, so maybe I was in very high heels that were re-moulding my feet into warped wedges of smelly cheese (and so found the 15-minute walk from the station a little unbearable) but I wanted to look good. And why? Because although 69 Colebrooke Row in Islington may have only been open for four or five months (as of Oct 09) it’s already the recipient of fabulous awards, great reviews and countless sighs. It’s all dimmed lights, chic clientele and great cocktails served by famous barmen, I heard. Just don’t expect to find it with ease (and once you’ve found the address don’t expect to necessarily notice the venue. Hint: it’s on a corner).

But the big question is: does it warrant the excruciating toe-pinching and moody snaps at my patient co-drinker? Undoubtedly, yes (though perhaps not for the person on the toothy end of the snarling)!

We were greeted and then transported through the evening on luxuriously deep swing, jazz and blues beats. Candles and subtle lighting caressed the darkness. It’s sexy. And with the heels?! Phooooweeh!

Once you’re seated in low, comfortable chairs and your eyes have adjusted to the light, a cocktail waitress in, fancy this, a cocktail dress brings across the drinks menu. This is important because it’s unlikely they’ll be serving your ‘usual’. Sweep away memories of cosmopolitans and mojitos just as you swept away the garishness of the Sex and the City sitcom which made them famous. Rather, at 69 Colebrooke Row you’ll be sipping on speedily conveyed drinks such as the elegant Blush (rose infused Wybrowa with rhubarb syrup, Perrier-Jouet and grapefruit twist) and Gonzales (tequila with caramel liqueur, honey water tuberose hydrosol and a lemon twist).

Now, I will be quite honest. The ingredients list above looked to me like the contents of what one would expect to find in the new Calvin Kleine fragrance. So what to do? And more importantly, what to drink? It’s with a deep sigh that I confess to you the burden I bare as a bar and restaurant critic. The only way I felt that I could give this exotic menu the dignity and attention it so greatly deserved was to work my way down the cocktail list. It was a delicious torture. Because of this agonising journey I can now tell you that the Twinkle smells and tastes as good as it sounds, but the Americano yanks you back to that infantile distress of being unable to swallow a bitter pill the first time round. Some basic snacks are on offer to assist in such moments.

So cocktail waitresses in cocktail dresses may not surprise you – but what about barmen in white laboratory coats? Beyond the somewhat grotty and intrusive upstairs bathrooms (especially if you happen to be seated at the foot of the stairs) lies the drinks factory – a room cluttered with scientific equipment designed to infuse, deflate, aerate, wiggle and squish a variety of hydrothermowhatsits to enhance the drinking experience. Tony Conigliaro, this North London bar’s world famous bartender, has been described as a “mad scientist”. At the moment, however, it’s more of an unexpected twist to a sexy theme than a real addition to your cocktail since the busy bar simply doesn’t allow the time for much chemical experimentation in business hours. Stay tuned though – this may change as techniques are mastered.

The bar is surprisingly small and so always full. While this does translate in to a consistent throbbing vibe it also means that you may struggle to find seats. Your best shot at ensuring a table is to pop in, give them your mobile number, and then nip out onto Essex Road and grab a bite to eat. They’ll send you a text message when there’s space. Again, a minor inconvenience but worth it.

And, ladies if you do decide to slip on those come-hither heels for The Great March, don’t expect to not be able to feel the pain after your second drink. These cocktails are masterpieces designed for a taste connoisseur, not someone simply looking for a quick fix. However, at £8 a cocktail it’s not too hard to conduct your own cocktail experimentations, ‘working’ through the list. I’d go back for the music alone.
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Customer Reviews for 69 Colebrooke Row

Average (based on 1 votes): 1 Atmosphere: Value: Quality:

The following customer reviews are not endorsed by Fluid London and are simply those of users who wish to publish their independent experiences of 69 Colebrooke Row.

“The music is fantastic and really tries to set the mood, and the prices do a lot for the place too... However, it's quite cramped and you're always pushed for space. The service is excellent. Still a good choice for evening drinks.”
Atmosphere: Value: Quality:
Matthew van Onselen, Johannesburg (9 years 23 days ago)

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69 Colebrooke Row Opening Hours

Monday: 5:00pm - 12:00am Friday: 5:00pm - 2:00am
Tuesday: 5:00pm - 12:00am Saturday: 5:00pm - 2:00am
Wednesday: 5:00pm - 12:00am Sunday: Closed
Thursday: 5:00pm - 1:00am    

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Venue ID: 18731

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