Except he didn’t. Oriole was awesome.
I’m not sure why I’ve not been to Night Jars little sister before. Night Jar was one of the first of the current wave of London speakeasy-ish bars with lavish drinks. It’s also one of my favourites, and has been pretty much since it opened. Oriole in Smithfields market follows a similar vein to the first bar, while also being completely different.
It’s a vintage around the world voyage type affair with south pacific island wall paper and oriental and south american ~stuff~ in cabinets all around the place. If I had the money this is probably what my flat would look like. I love it. The menu follows a similar vein with cocktails split between the Old World, New World and Orient. Obviously I had to have one from each. Being me I went backwards.
First up was a Aranjagaan. It was a mix of rum, campari and various fruity things severed in a mug of ice with fruits on top. It was delicious! All of the flavours at once and lovely tropical and smooth.
Travelling backwards I found myself in the New World. Cienfuagos. Another rum based drink, this time stronger and more bitter. It was in essence a rum Negroni. Of course I loved it. It was also served in an upside down goat. What more could I ask for?
Coming home to the Old World I had an Alhambra. It’s a brandy and sherry based drink (that came with a cake!). It was rich, smooth and a wonderful drink on which to end the evening. All three drinks that I had were spectacular. As were the drinks that everyone else I was with had (special note to Lovely Girlfriends last cocktail that came in a big leather bag and tasted of curry!).
The thing they have borrowed from Night Jar is the music. Every night there’s live blues/jazz/vaguely vintagey music going on. It was the turn of Beniot Viellefon and his Orchestra. Beniot is a very french frenchman strumming a guitar with a collections of other penguin suited jazz musicians playing things from the 20s-40s. I’d heard them before at Lindyhop events, but never sat down and listened to them. If you like things that swing (which I do), they’re definitely worth checking out.
I’ve compared Oriole to Night Jar a few times. I’m not sure yet and will have to go again, but I possibly like Oriole even more.