Cocktail pilgrims, cocktail bar zealots of a historical persuasion and those who enjoy subterranean prohibition themed spaces. Also those who prefer older style cocktails and bar staff wearing trouser braces
Fitzrovia bound people running away from the more populous drink establishments of this part of London
People looking for a dark, secluded spot to do business, romance, relaxation or whatever else you do in a dark corner (keep it legal, folks!)
A cocktail Bar with some (mainly Mediterranean) bar snacks
In A Word
Disclaimer: Less words, more pictures
This will be one of those reviews in which there must be an excess of images to compensate for a deficit of words. I’m not even sure what happened here, but the Lucky Pig is very photogenic so I hope you’ll not be disappointed with me…
Happy Go Lucky (pig)
I end up hearing of the Lucky Pig via Tanqueray, who decide to throw an event here that combines both jazz and gin. I figure that anyone who gets Tanqueray’s seal of approval is worth looking into, so preparations are made to properly put the bar to the test.
And I am glad we do.
I initially miss the entrance, which is underground (though I plainly miss the obvious sign).
I show up and initially there’s a mighty queue and The prohibition cellar feeling sets in, which is what I figure these guys are going for.
It’s quiet, with a few diners sequestered away in the darker corners, discussing who knows what. There’s a small staff, and the place at this point feels 66% someone’s front room, 33% bar. It’s intimate, and I quite like it.
A man who looks like the kind of guy who’d play obscure indie rock covers but who is actually an excellent bluesman provides the music for the night, setting up from around 830 or something.
Unfortunately we’re seated next to his amp, so it’s a bit hard to hold a conversation and we later end up moving to what looks like a WW2 era Anderson bomb shelter where we end up discuss an event later that doesn’t actually pan out and order additional alcohol.
Some point later I zone out, almost awestruck by the low hypnotic lighting and the sedative effect of one too many cocktails.
Said bluesman asks us for requests and the brain goes completely blank. Retrospectively I would have asked for John Lee Hooker’s ‘Boom! Boom!’. Despite our lack of input, he plays on anyway – later in the night moving onto acoustic versions of Avicii and the like.
Inbetween sets and before/after he plays, The Lucky Pig churns out an excellent Motown playlist that reminds me of being 12 and hanging out in my parents’ kitchen. The place goes from someone else’s front room, to my front room. But like…better and more vintage (I don’t really spend much time in my front room)
At some point end up chatting with the publicity manager, Kate. Here I learn that they’re thinking of expansion, and that they’ve only been there for 2 years. So the ‘distressed’ decor is actually all part of the clever plan.
The Lucky Pig’s drinks, like the decor, are more in the style of the old school. I can’t say I know much about said distressed wall decor (though the singer sewing machine is a great touch) – but on the whole, Lucky Pig’s more boozy, less sweet recipes are excellent for the more die-hard spirit drinker – though there are a few sweet ones, as we later discover.
Instead of making choices, we ask Teodora, our bartender, for some recommendations based on a few vague guidelines around taste. Her ideas are excellent – so either she worked out my tastes very well, or I have no standards whatsoever. Or maybe all of their cocktails are excellent? You decide!
(and here are some pictures…I can’t recall which drink is which)
I almost forgot to mention…there is food, and because it is there, we order some.
Food here is mainly Mediterranean, and in the sharing platter style. It’s not a restaurant, it’s more like higher quality, more expensive bar snacks (expensive for what you get, anyway). I suppose some of the selections could be described as ‘Tapas’ – we order…
The Lucky Pig was a lot of fun, we enjoyed it so much that we stayed right ’til closing time – leaving only when uh… politely ejected. The ‘prohibition’ look gives it a clandestine, almost secret air – a historic atmosphere that felt authentic to me, despite it only having been here for two years.
It’s a nice retreat and a place that doesn’t get too full – especially in an area (Fitzrovia) in which many venues feel like they’re heaving. That’s not to say that they don’t draw a crowd, its just a…more reasonably sized crowd. A nice balance between too full and too quiet.
In terms of portions, the food is quite overpriced for what you get, but…
You probably know at few people who are into:
1. Vintage design and settings (‘vintage’ being a pretty wide remit, I’ll admit).
2. Drinking new and unusual varieties of cocktails and/or the older/more traditional style of cocktail.
And you could show them how much you appreciate them by bringing them here. Congratulations! You are now ‘thoughtful’ AND you know about booze too!
A: 5 Clipstone Street, Fitzrovia, London, W1W 6BB
P: 020 7436 0035