Late Night Drinking
London-City and East London
May 11, 2018
You’d be forgiven for thinking you really had taken a trip back to the 20th century, with mock bowler hats hanging in the corner and a pianist tinkering away on the piano. It’s dimly lit, but light enough to read the menu, with the soft golden lights casting a romantic fuzzy glow over the table.
Often bars with such a high industry kudos find it pretty hard to live up to their reputation (The Gibson shot into the ‘50 Best’ list within just a few weeks of opening). But once in here, it’s very clear why – every detail, no matter how small, has been taken into account. You’re immediately welcomed with a teeny dish of complimentary boozy punch, along with a jar of Gibson house pickled vegetables (pickled stuff is their thing here). Then delving into the two cocktail lists: there’s a weekly one, with some weird and wonderful twists on the classic martini, and then there’s the mainstay menu, with drinks inspired by different months and flavours of the year.
We opted for the ‘cocktail of the week’ along with the bar’s namesake and signature cocktail, The Gibson Martini. The former was an insanely elaborate fruity drink served in a coupette glass, with chunks of flamed meringue, orange flowers and a zesty orange wedge floating on top. If that’s not enough flavours, the rim of the glass was coated in a white chocolate and truffle. Although extremely creative, it was a bit of a sensory overload. But, needless to say, the service was spot on – quickly offering another option on swift inspection that we couldn’t quite stomach it. Our next choice, The Gibson, certainly didn’t disappoint – an elegant drink served in a vintage metal martini glass: ice cold, smooth and boozy Tanqueray London Dry gin, Mancino Secco vermouth, pairing perfectly with the vinegary pickled onion garnish and sharp Parmesan slices that come with it.
Meanwhile, more magic is happening at the bar, with boozy liquids poured into gun-shaped vessels and topped with a raspberry bullets, or a mock light-bulb glass with flashing faux ice cubes. Headed up by Nightjar’s ex-Head Bartender Marian Beke, theatre is what these guys do best.
The most memorable drink has to be the Electric Earl, served with an innocent-looking yellow bud that will send a crazy electric shock into your mouth. This place is definitely one for the adventurous – if you’re going to order just a G&T, the Gibson is wasted on you. Just make sure you double-check the ingredients before you order, as (we discovered) it can get pretty weird in here.