We’d like to welcome the lovely Andrew as our first Drink Deck London Ambassador! He is single handedly trying to get round as many of the bars as he can and in the process provide us with some snippets from his fabulous nights out. A new twist on a mystery shopper some might say… but with an amazing cocktail in hand!!
“52 cards, 52 bars, 52 weeks in the year…perfect!”
A great one to start off with…Barrio Central:
Barrio Central (“BC”) is good for a chill night with friends but more for getting your drink on!
- Amigo Hour from 3-8pm (3-7pm on Fridays & Saturdays) with £4.50 cocktails
- High bartender to bar space ratio = quick drink service
- Table service for no extra charge
- Reserve a place in advance for no charge and get queue-jumping privileges
- Staff are very friendly and helpful
The Full Monty
I flicked through my Drink Deck in search of a place to hold birthday drinks. Barrio Central ticked the key boxes: ✓ happy hour, ✓ central location, ✓ reserve a space in advance, and ✓ reasonably priced for the area. Sorted!
BC is located a short 5 min walk from Oxford Circus and a slightly longer one from Piccadilly Circus. Despite being warned in advance that there would be a line even on a Thursday night, there was no problem for me or any of my friends getting in. The hostess led us to our space and had no qualms about booting out some people who had disregarded the “reserved” signs and taken up residence. A good start for us (although perhaps less so for the squatters) and we were off!
Drinks brought to me = Awesome
A plus point was the availability of table service even though the bar was just beyond our area. I personally hate queuing for a drink as it takes away from time with my friends (which is damn precious) and then you are faced with that slight problem of how to carry everything back through the crowd. Luckily, the lovely waitresses at BC take care of all of that for you. If you start a tab, they’ll give you a little square card with your table number that you can use to order your drinks rather than shouting out a name and risking others using it (it’s happened before!). Minor problem is that the card is pretty damn small which means you gotta be careful or you’ll lose it.
The Grub, the Booze, and the Other Stuff
Food is served all night provided you’ve snared yourself a table. It’s fairly standard Spanish/Mexican fare with the chorizo and quesadillas being the most favoured in our group. But we weren’t here to eat.
Overall, the drinks are well conceived and tasty but the alcoholic content seemed to differ depending on which bartender you had. Those that really stood out for me were the Barrio Zombie, the Bahama Mama, and the Yummi Gummi.
The Barrio Zombie is the signature drink. Those familiar with Zombies, flaming or otherwise, know it’s a potent beverage consisting of variety of rums and little else. It is served in a luchador head mug (think Nacho Libre’s mask) and is big enough to give even the most die-hard American college frat boy a good buzz. At £20, it’s the most expensive drink on the menu by far, but just being able to walk around and sip out of a head makes it good value.
The Bahama Mama is BC’s take on a Piña Colada with dark rum, coconut rum, a bit of coffee liqueur, and finished off with
citrus. Served with a pineapple garnish, the sweetness of the rum and slight bite of the coffee liqueur make this a truly tasty
libation. I also got hints of caramelized pineapple which were absolutely brilliant and to top it off, this drink is served in a barrel! Yep, definitely my favourite of the night.
The Yummi Gummi is a sweet rum, pear, and lychee mix but the real draw are the handful of gummy bears used to garnish the drink. Why don’t more bars use gummy bears as garnish?
Well I’m done and going to start looking for the next card to play. As my favourite rabbit says, that’s all folks!
What’s more Andrew managed to get a whopping £34 off his bill and still 51 cards to use!!