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|Address:||13a Gerrard Street, London W1D 5PS|
|Tel:||020 7434 3559|
|Opening Hours:||Mon-Sun 6pm-3am (Sun -12M)|
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The Experimental Cocktail Club has annoyed many a potential customer with its hard-to-find, no-number door and its discriminating, supercilious doormen. But the former is all part of its secret, speakeasy appeal; and despite the latter, we have managed to slip through the net twice. Last night my fiancee was wearing a Barbour jacket which I suspect the doorman (not noticing the authentic dog hair and Dorset mud) thought was incredibly Shoreditch, so he let us in despite becoming distinctly frosty as we faffed at the door waiting for our friend. Once inside though, the staff are are all extremely friendly from the super smiley maitress d' who welcomes you to the charming barmen. The decor is quite “cool” in a slightly self-consciously hip way (velvet green pouffes, glass low tables, exposed brickwork etc) and, no surprises, the clientele matches this (yes, lots of post-modernist, ironic, wax jacket wearing types). The atmosphere buzzes, thanks in part to the squeezy seating and heightened no doubt by the collective palpable relief of being let in. But forget all this, ultimately it's all about the drinks here and ECC delivers on the promise of its name. The cocktail menu is quirky, appealing and truly experimental. I was persuaded that I really should try egg white in a drink so had an amazing gin-based/elderflower concoction that had a frothy top and a hidden spicy kick, followed by a furry-teeth inducing gorgeous little vodka/berry malarkey which came in an old-fashioned pharmacy bottle complete with “magic potion” label. This is quite simply the best place for a cocktail in London. So, dress dandy, try your hand at walking in off the street, and if it doesn't happen, don't let it ruin your night: you can always try another evening and until then there's the London Cocktail Club around the corner…