Viajante87 | An Agave-Focused Cocktail Bar in Notting Hill

On date night, you’re usually inclined to go above and beyond.

But on this particular occasion, you’re going to head below – specifically, to a subterranean, zero-waste agave lair slung below the gilded cinema that is Notting Hill’s Gate Picturehouse.

Viajante87 comes to you from the same team behind nearby Mexican-Japanese restaurant Los Mochis. The Viajante part of the name means ‘the traveller’ in Spanish and links to the idea that the five elements – earth, water, fire, wind and space – are always around you, in some form or the other, wherever you go. In this case, they’re in your drinks: smokey drinks repping fire, veg-based drinks repping earth and so on.

Before getting into that though, the first thing you’ll do upon arriving at Viajante87 (besides walking down the stairs) is take a moment to eye up the surroundings because they’re quite the sight; a low-lit lounge of lunar colours – with room for just over 100 – backed by walls made entirely of cork, with teal banquettes and velvet stools positioned around little marble tables (perfect for hunched over gossip sessions) and a showpiece 20-foot backlit bar (made with recycled bottles) that ties the whole space together.

Returning to the drinks… These have been masterminded by Panos Kanatsoulis; a former bartender at The Clumsies, a bar in Athens that – when he was behind the bar there – was voted number 6 in the World’s 50 Best Bars. At Viajante87 he’s focussing on sustainability, so signatures such as the Smoked Earth (mezcal-based and made using lacto-fermented vegetables from the kitchen like beetroot and red cabbage) and the Mango Zapateca (a clarified cocktail that’s agave vodka-based, garnished with mustard seeds and made with mango skins leftover from Los Mochis) have been resourcefully designed to make sure nothing gets wasted. Except for you of course, as they’re pretty strong…

Other than sustainability, Kanatsoulis is also into his drinkey science and has thus created libations like the Lana in Tulum, a tequila and strawberry twist on the pornstar martini that comes with a side of theatre: a vaporised bubble that bursts into a cloud of smoke before you sip it. Then there’s the most unusual drink at Viajante87, the Sleeping Chicatanas: a mezcal, tequila, honey & fermented koji rice cocktail, which to the untrained eye may appear as though it’s been accidentally served to you with a dead fly sitting on top of it, but is in fact a chicatana (an edible Mexican ant with an umami profile) that’s crunchy, tasty and high on protein too, apparently.

As for things to eat besides the ant, bar snacks are on their way (by the end of January) and follow the Mexican/Japanese theme of Los Mochis – think nibbles like wedges of crispy rice crowned with guacamole and shavings of black truffle. And finally, there’s also page after page listing all the bottles of tequila and mezcal that they have, and that you can have on the rocks as well.

Try not to get carried away…


NOTE: Viajante87 is open from Tues-Thurs 7pm-midnight and Fri-Sat 7pm-2am. There are no reservations, just turn up – you can find out more on their website HERE.

Viajante87 | Basement, 87 Notting Hill Gate, London, W11 3JZ

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87 Notting Hill Gate, Notting Hill, W11 3JZ
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