Callooh Callay | Shoreditch Bar
“‘Twas brillig, and the slithy toves
Did gyre and gimble in the wabe”
– Jabberwocky, Lewis Carroll
Clearly, Lewis Carroll enjoyed a drink or two.
And clearly, the people at Callooh Callay want to respect that, naming their Shoreditch cocktail spot after a line from his famed nonsense poem. The sizeable, low-lit space has dark walls, and is filled with Victoriana touches including an antique gramophone, and an ornate wardrobe (which we’ll come back to later…).
The place has had awards practically thrown at it; the latest in a long line being The World’s Best Cocktail Menu, handed out at Tales of the Cocktail (“the Oscars of the cocktail world”). This planet-beating menu includes such perfectly-blended numbers as the Great Wave (with green tea-infused Nikka All Malt whisky and pineapple sherbet); the Port Royal (mixing 23yo rum with fine port and lemon); and The Black Stuff (with Black Bush whiskey, Guinness, and date syrup).
…And you can soak it all up with a few bar snacks from lobster mac and cheese balls, tuna ceviche and sweet potato and camembert croquettes.
Now back to that wardrobe.
You see, if you ask the bartender kindly, they’ll open it up for you, and you can literally climb inside, and find yourself in a secret private bar area… and then, if you head upstairs from there, you’ll find yourself in a whole other secret bar.
Welcome to the Palace of Humbug.
A smaller, more intimate affair, the walls are adorned with neon wall art, with rock music providing a moody soundtrack – to match the cocktail list, which are all named after emotions and include ingredients like marshmallows, and alpine wormwood. But don’t worry…
…they still serve it the old fashioned way.
NOTE: Callooh Callay is open 6pm-1am, seven days a week. To access the upstairs bar just ask the bartender, but be aware it’s invite only after 10pm. You can find out more on their website HERE.
Callooh Callay | 65 Rivington St, EC2A 3AY
Like drinking in East London? Check out our guide to the best bars in Shoreditch