London-City and East London
- Late night Drinking
- Great food
- Live music
- Jazz & Blues
Apr 16, 2018
In true speakeasy bar style, you’ll find Oriole tucked away in underground Farringdon in London, with a low-key, unassuming entrance within the deserted Smithfield Market. Not a glamorous setting, but head down the stairs and enter into theatrical oldie world magic. Atmospheric and candle lit, decorated with striking tropical wallpaper, along with cabinets displaying all sorts of interesting trinkets – from wooden masks, to tribal weapons, you won’t get stuck for conversation down here.
One key rule to follow: don’t just rock up. And by this, we don’t just mean book the night before – we say lock down your seats at least a week in advance. Sister to world famous NightJar bar in Old Street, this place has a strong name for itself and is particularly packed on weekend nights. Wangle a seat by the band to really soak up the atmosphere.
Now delve into the huge cocktail bible – this could take a while! It’s rather overwhelming, organised by Old World, New World and The Orient. Featuring all sorts of fantastical ingredients from across the globe, like nopal (Mexican prickly pear) purée, or Voatsiperifery (Tasmanian wild white peppercorn) infusion. We had to look that up, thanks to the glossary at the back of the menu – great for those of us not familiar with obscure bartender ingredient code.
We tried the Ollantaytambo – taking its name from a stage in the infamous Inca Trail in Cusco, Peru, a fruity pisco and tequila-based drink served in a beautiful Inca-style clay pot, masquerading as a bowl of thick savoury noodles – which is actually blue baby corn, beetroot and fried chulpi. We also tried the signature Lambanog Mule made with gin, coconut wine, curried pineapple juice, served out of a leather drawstring pouch. Tasting of tropical sweet and spicy coconut curry, it was really quite bizarre – but weird is what Oriole is all about.
Yep, if you’re fussy about your cocktails, this place might not work out for you (if you prefer a plain old pint, this experience will be wasted on you). When it comes to ordering at Oriole, be adventurous, because you really won’t find drinks like this anywhere else.