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Worship Street Whistling Shop (Bar)

Picture of Worship Street Whistling Shop in Shoreditch, London

63 Worship Street, Shoreditch, London, EC2A 2DU
Cuisine: British
Tel: 02072470015 | Email to Worship Street Whistling Shop | Transport: Old Street | Write review

Worship Street Whistling Shop Review

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Best for: cocktails; gin; baths; friendly knowledgeable staff.

Great: For an education in alcohol; For science; Victorian surroundings.

When the organisation known as Fluid Movement opened Marylebone cocktail den Purl last year, it would be no understatement to say that they caused a bit of a stir. It shot straight to the top of many a Best London Cocktail Bar list, and with good reason. With ultra-innovative bar staff, ridiculously professional waitresses, a laid back speakeasy style, and drinks that might arrive in a foaming test-tube, a brown paper bag, or anything in between, Purl is so cool that you get cooler just by standing in it.

So no pressure then for Fluid Movement’s new bar, just opened in the city. The Worship Street Whistling Shop takes things back to an earlier time; the name itself coming from a Victorian slang term that meant, in essence, ‘illegal booze house’. The focus appears initially to be on that most degenerate of London spirits, gin, but as it soon transpires the shamelessly bonkers approach of Fluid Movement continues unabashed.

I arrive at the Whistling Shop nonplussed by the usual 28 Days Later eeriness of the City of London on the weekend. Glancing over my shoulder in case of errant staggering undead, I ready myself for the steadying effects of gin. Normally the streets would be filled with suits, but on Saturdays it’s unnervingly quiet. A brave place to open a ‘destination’ bar but, as was about to become clear, the easy option does not feature too often with these guys.

No doubt the esteemed inventors of a drink called ‘Mr Hyde’s Fixer-Upper’ will be on hand to calm my nerves. Ah yes, a large bathtub in the middle of the floor. And what appears to be a bubbling mad scientist lab full of labelled jars containing things I’ve never heard of. Perhaps a glance at the cocktail menu will settle me? ‘Radiation Aged Cocktail’ is just one of the many drinks that leaps off the menu, grabs me by the coat and whispers hoarsely into my ear about lightning rods and grave-robbing.

“Just a name?” I ask weakly.

Not a bit of it. They’re not going to tell anyone how it’s done, which is understandable considering it’s the most delicious new cocktail I’ve tried in many years.

I am shown around the bar, which is low-lit and atmospheric despite the lack of people (too early in the day). They have a little private room containing the aforementioned bath – a nod to the illegal gin-making of the era – and an honesty bar that I would say asks more of its sozzled customers’ memories than their honesty. I’d recommend writing stuff down if you’re thinking of hiring it. Across the room, the lab is not just for show. Stepping inside, it immediately takes me back to school science lessons, though obviously the mechanics of irradiating a load of delicious spirits in order to combine the flavours more effectively didn’t feature too heavily at my school. Unfortunately. This is a recurring theme of the drinks here: a combination of interesting trade secrets and crazy-eyed mad science. If chemistry lessons were like this at school everyone would be a scientist. A boozy scientist, possibly, but a scientist nonetheless.

This is another feature that has carried over from Purl: showmanship. Showmanship is to be applauded when it serves a purpose, and everything at this cocktail bar serves a purpose. Their homemade ingredients are in there because they make the drinks better. The strange chemistry results in things you’ve never quite tasted before. Our excellent host told us, with a glint in his eye, that the “lads from The Fat Duck” were coming down the week after my visit. I bet they weren’t disappointed.
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Customer Reviews for Worship Street Whistling Shop

Average (based on 3 votes): 3 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 Worship Street Whistling Shop.

“Had great expectations for this bar but the greeting on arrival was dreadful from a bar attendant that neither looked at us when he spoke nor could be understood by either of us. Found him really unhelpful where choosing a cocktail was concerned. We then moved around to the otherside of the bar where we were taken care of by a more helpful female bar attendant....the cocktails were disappointing so we move on to a glass of wine which was nice we chose the cheese platter to go with it which was not great, the artisan bread......was just a couple of slices of regular boring white bread!! won't be rushing back any time soon”
Atmosphere: Value: Quality:
Elaine O'Riordan, London (5 years 7 months 12 days ago)

“This place is amazing. My boyfriend took me for a drink and I was seriously impressed. Its set up like a Victorian bar and has a really interesting cocktail menu using unusual ingredients that they create themselves in their own lab which is tucked into a corner of the bar. The waiters were on hand to suggest a suitable cocktail for me and showed us round the lab and explained how they make the flavours. I would highly recommend a visit to the Worship Street Whistling Shop.”
Atmosphere: Value: Quality:
Laura Cooke, london (6 years 3 months 22 days ago)

“Wow, what a bar! Or is it even a bar? More a Victorian Den of Iniquity. If you liked Purl then you'll love the theatre of this Shoreditch cocktail bar. Doing for cocktails what Heston Blumenthal does for food at the Fat Duck, the staff here are passionate about creating unusual experience, and not just drinks. I came here on a first date recently. We both had an amazing time. I may even get a second date. Thanks Whistling Shop!”
Atmosphere: Value: Quality:
The London Bar Man, London (7 years 2 months 2 days ago)

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