There are very few places that make me smile from ear to ear every single time I visit. Bitters & Rye is one of them.
We first visited on Valentine’s Day, and the love story has been going on since then. And just like it is always difficult to find the words to tell people about a fairly-new-but-definitely-here-to-stay love story, I’ve been looking for the words to tell you about this little gem.
The first time we visited, it was because we saw the sign advertising brilliant cocktails. We had a bit of time before heading to dinner (at another one of those London gems I could talk about for hours), so we thought we might as well check it out. We were really early, so the bar was entirely empty. The team was putting the finishing touches to their Valentine’s decoration. We sat at the bar and ordered two cocktails from the Valentine’s menu. And nobody raised an eyebrow when I asked for the St Clement’s Sour. First good sign; I usually get a lot of “are you sure that’s what you want, wouldn’t you rather have *insert any flower-flavoured drink here*?”.
We got our drinks and they were really really good indeed. Perfectly balanced, and both with this little touch that keeps things interesting. We chatted for a little while over our empty glasses when Stav came and introduced herself with a simple “Talk to me“. So that’s what we did. The discussion was fairly simple tough as we were just asked “Which spirit?“. And after a bit of stirring and shacking, another glass appeared in front of us. And that secret cocktail was perfectly designed to match both of our tastes. That was it, we were hooked.
As we left for our dinner reservation, we were hugged like old friends and told to come back very soon. And that’s what we’ve been doing since then.
We usually order our first drinks from the menu. Take the time to read the descriptions; it’ll give you an idea of what this place is about: really good cocktails, but most importantly, creativity, memories and people. And making sure everyone meets their perfect drink.I doubt I’ll ever run out of things to discover. The bar is far too well stocked for that. I fell in love with the Whisky Sour the first time I tried it and haven’ changed my mind since then (also, *THOSE* amaretto cherries!!).
A little caramel and whisky number (as with all of Stav’s mystery creations, we weren’t quite sure what we were drinking, but that’s part of the fun!)My favourite of that night (another surprise cocktail, with vodka, lemon and violet). Stav truly is the heart and soul of this place, in her own words her “baby”. She makes every one of her customers feel like they’re the most important person in the bar. Also, I’m pretty sure she reads minds. How else would she always get it right when she whips up something for you without you even saying a word?Old fashioned (?) and Grapefruit Daiquiri.
There was a third round, and also some limoncello shots as well, but by that time, I was obviously smilling a lot too much to click pictures. I went back home with that fuzzy feeling in my stomach that only a handful of places gave me. And the need to tell the world about Bitters & Rye. Just say hi! for me when you go!
What: London’s best cocktails. And most definitely London’s niccest bar team. They make you feel like family and you’ll never want to go anywhere else.
How much: around £8 per cocktail. Plus things money can’t buy.
Where: Bitters & Rye, Paesan’s basement, 2 Exmouth Market, London EC1R 4PX