NOTE: Hercules has closed, and this space is now a sequin-drenched bar called Jimi Loves Gloria.
The Soho pub called The Pillars of Hercules has transformed itself into a “cocktail pub”, simply named Hercules.
Yes, the drinks have gotten a lot stronger.
The centuries-old Pillars of Hercules (namedropped in A Tale of Two Cities) itself is on Soho’s Greek Street, and thanks to the adjoining Manette Street – which almost seems to run directly through the pub – it allows the place to show off its broad-shouldered sturdiness in suspending the stories above it over thin air.
The venue itself has been given a top-to-bottom overhaul, but retains the critical elements of any pub: wooden fittings, bentwood barstools, elbow-height tables clutching the wall, etc. On top of those, however they’ve draped a layer of cocktail bar-style sophistication, with touches like a copper bartop, dark moody walls, and a stained glass window inlaid into the ceiling. There’s even a picture of the modern Hercules himself (Arnie, obviously) above the bar.
Because they’ve apparently taken this whole ‘cocktail pub’ thing really quite seriously, they’ve even installed a very small laboratory space somewhere in the back along with a few ageing casks, where they can tweak, tailor, and test their recipes (and, we assume, their sobriety).
It also gives them a space to blend & bottle the premixed classic cocktails which line the shelves behind the bar (there are a dozen or so, including Gimlets, Mahattans, Dirty Martinis, Old Fashioneds, etc.). They’ve even managed to bottle sparkling, pressurised cocktails. It means you can pop the cork on a whole bottle of Aperol Spritz, should you feel so inclined.
As for the cocktail list itself, they’ve got a fair lineup. You can expect among others:
- Whisky Highball – for this one, they blend their own whisky, using American, Irish, Australian & Scotch base spirits, then adding little botanical mixer, and some lavender mist.
- Americano – their version of the classic Americano has the usual vermouth & bitters, but also comes with a slice of Americana jelly too.
- Straight Up Mary – this version of the Bloody uses completely clear clarified tomato, truffled maple, and tomato vine vodka to create a transparent-yet-intensely-tomatoey Mary.
- Old King Coal – they’ve created some fig vinegar in the lab, and they’re blending it with caramel & Champagne for this one.
- Hive Mind – after being inspired by a staff trip to a local hive, the barkeeps whipped up this number with scotch, bee pollen, banana, and oak. £1 from each drink goes to the National Bee Keepers Association.
There are bar snacks too, with cheese plates, charcuterie, and a stunning lineup of house pickles which includes parsnip, carrot, fennel, radish, golden beetroot, broccoli and finally morel mushroom. Of course, if you eat all the others…
…you might not have mushroom for them.
NOTE: Hercules has now closed.
Hercules | 7 Greek Street, W1D 4DF
Looking for a drinking spot? See the Best Bars in Soho