Too many times has the Fox seen people pretend to be someone they are not, only to falter at their efforts and end up appearing uncomfortable in their own skin. That’s why the first rule of the Transaction of Love is to ensure you are having a good time. Pick a place you will enjoy, crack the joke that you will find funny, be yourself, damnit and the rest will follow.
One of my favourite London hang outs is the bar at 69 Colebrooke Row. I don’t think anyone knows the name of this place, but it has a great big Martini sign outside. Hidden away in a corner off Upper Street, this is a tiny, delightful speakeasy serving great cocktails with the widest of smiles. I will always have a good evening here.
The waitress, tall, blonde and French lures us to our seats. We each take a menu from her slender, diamond encrusted hands which we squint to read due to the ungenerous lighting. A piano sits in the corner yearning to be played. Next to it is the bar, behind which two bearded bartenders shake up gorgeous looking concoctions. The tiny room is packed with Islington’s most handsomely dressed, a couple of whom sit on the steps leading up to the washrooms due to a lack of space. Condensation drips from the windows to the beat of the jazzy rhythm that fills the room. The waitress returns as soon as we are settled, bringing glasses of water and takes our order.
Usually I pick the Spitfire, which is no longer on the menu. I have no idea what is in it, but it is delicious. It is kind of a light cider, quite sweet with a tinge of sour. This time round, I picked the Avignon, which I believe is cognac with a splash of camomile liqueur. It was great. My guest chose the Apple and Hay Bellini of which I had a taste, but can’t remember if it was any good.
Conversation flows as easily as the martini in this bar. I always find myself excited at the prospect of coming here. There are also snacks on the menu for the fiendishly peckish, and those who don’t drink cocktails can choose the beers or wines available.
The waitress returns, as beautiful as ever. She fills our glasses with fresh water and asks us if we wish for any more drinks. What great service.
69 Colebrooke Row