NOTE: A Bar with Shapes for a Name is currently closed while they renovate and expand into the basement. They’re set to reopen upstairs on 8th March, and then unveil the basement on 7th April. In the meantime, there are thankfully plenty of decent Shoreditch bars to keep you watered…
A Bar with Shapes for a Name | Meticulous Cocktails Inspired By The Bauhaus Movement
Obviously the first thing that we need to address here is the name.
Because, as you may have discerned, this bar has shapes for a name. Specifically 🔶🟥🔵 (that’s supposed to be yellow triangle, red square, blue circle). A bit like The Bar With No Name, it seems like an idea teetering perilously on the fine line between fun & pretentious, the kind that one would come up with after a few too many cocktails, in a brilliant flash of inspiration as to how to definitely get people to remember the name of your new place.
But the fact is that this is more than just a superficial frivolity, and the deeper you dig, the more brilliance this place holds. The name, the drinks, and the bar itself are all inspired by the Bauhaus movement (we know, this isn’t doing the ‘pretentious’ thing any favours) which arose in a period of extreme scarcity in early 20th Century Germany. That scarcity led to a flourishing movement of creativity, making less do considerably more in both art & design.
What that means for you & your thirst is a wonderfully minimalist space dressed in white, brown and blue, with those ubiquitous shapes popping up here and there (they’re actually inspired by Kandinsky’s correspondence between form & colour, who felt that blue was a ‘circular’ colour, and that squares were ‘red’ shapes etc – it’s not random) and extremely swift bar service thanks to some minimalist & elegant cocktails.
Speaking of the bar – you’ll likely notice that it has no branded bottles behind it. As we mentioned, Bauhaus flourished in a time of scarcity, so the show runners here (led by mixologist Remy Savage) have elected to stock only 20 bottles, all chosen by blind tasting, and from which they make all of their drinks.
Thus, finally we come to the cocktails. The menu at A Bar With Shapes For A Name has six house originals, and six classic cocktails, and none of them cost more than a tenner. They all come pre-bottled (though the process of making them in advance is truly painstaking) and are made with just three or four ingredients. As an added touch, the red drinks come with square ice cubes and the blue drinks comes with spherical ones. Kandinsky would have bloody loved to get drunk here. The Odessa comes with pineapple, liquorice, cognac, and coffee. The Kazimir somehow mixes absinthe with peach yoghurt & vodka. Their negroni has coconut oil in it. Their old fashioned involves quince eau de vie. And they’re all so, so drinkable – no wonder they’re currently sitting pretty on the World’s 50 Best Bars list.
The sheer invention that this place shows off all comes from the lab at the back, where they regularly atomize and re-make ingredients, bending the booze to their maniacal whims, producing entirely new & fascinating flavours to unleash on the unsuspecting public. If you want to take a peek, you can at one of their regular cocktail-making classes.
Frankly, the place has shaped up quite nicely.
NOTE: A Bar with Shapes for a Name is open until 3am daily. There are no bookings. You can find out more right here.
A Bar with Shapes for a Name | 232 Kingsland Rd, Whitmore Estate, E2 8AX
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