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11 September 2012

Chortling with the Mome Raths

Last week, before we went to Tramshed, BB and I stopped for a drink at Callooh Callay, further down trendy Rivington Street, which is tucked away in the middle of the triangle formed by Old Street, Great Eastern Street and Shoreditch High Street. In New York speak, it would probably be called TriBeO, but apparently Shoreditch Design Triangle is the preferred nickname. Although Rivington Street isn't one of Shoreditch's main drags, that isn't to say it's quiet and out of the way. In fact, a wander along its cobbled length takes you past plenty of interesting shops, bars and restaurants, such as the Rivington Grill and YCN.

Callooh Callay, which is closer to the Shoreditch High Street end of Rivington, is a cocktail bar with a loose Lewis Carroll theme, its name, of course, being taken his poem The Jabberwocky: "'O frabjous day! Callooh! Callay!' / He chortled in his joy." Mostly the main area of the bar just looks a little--OK, a lot--quirky, with its brightly coloured furniture, oversized wardrobe and mirrored walls. The wardrobe actually leads to more secret (but not very secret), flamingo-filled bar called Jub Jub, to which only the cool kids are given the key.

Callooh Callay in Rivington Street

The cocktail menu is very impressive. The menu itself comes printed out as though it's one of the never-ending Now That's What I Call Music pop compilations I used to collect in my youth; on this occasion, it was Now That's What I Call Cocktails23 chart-topping hits of summer 2012! Includes Marmageddon, Hell in a Highball and many more. Many of the drinks sounded interesting and I considered the Just Bee Good To Me and the Callooh Callay Cup No 2, but in the end I ordered the Ta Gin Mule: Tanqueray gin, dried apricots, lime juice, Briottet Apricot, cumin sugar and ginger beer. It was really tasty, although not that strong--probably for the best given that I'd had a long day at work. BB opted for the more tropical Island Currency, which was also very good.

Ta Gin Mule and the old skool cocktail menu

At around £9 per drink, Callooh Callay isn't too expensive for Shoreditch. You do have to pay a 12.5% service charge, but it's hard to object too much when the drinks are great, the staff are nice--oh, and when there's free popcorn. I definitely want to go back to sample some of the other drinks on offer (it's a shame the Marmite-laced Marmageddon contains beer, or I would have liked to try it)--the mini burger, hot dog and scotch egg threesomes also sound good. I'm sure Charles Dodgson would have approved.

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