Experimental Cocktail Club 22

13a Gerrard Street , London, W1D 5PS

10 reviews

Bars Soho

Experimental Cocktail Club

SquareMeal Review of Experimental Cocktail Club

Like its Shoreditch sibling, Joyeux Bordel, ECC is from the same stable as à la mode Parisian thoroughbreds such as Prescription in St. Germain-des-Prés. Beyond the scruffy door, guarded by a friendly (or otherwise) greeter, you’ll discover a moody boho pile packed with Pinteresting people and arranged over the upper floors of a Chinatown dwelling: opinions of the full EEC experience are invariably divided, although few would dispute that it delivers consistently good drinks knocked out by keen-to-please/snottily superior staff (make up your own mind). Expect to shell out at least £70 for a quartet of contemporary spins on classic recipes: the line-up varies, but those we have loved include the Martini Suissesse (a blend of absinthe, vermouth, mint and orgéat that tastes like pimped-up Pernod) and Old Cuban (a rum, ginger and shampoo coupe). Steer clear of cocktails made with vintage spirits – unless you're feeling really flush and really flash.


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3.6

Food & Drink: 5.3

Service: 3.7

Atmosphere: 4.2

Value: 3.9

Food & Drink: 1.0

Service: 0.0

Atmosphere: 0.0

Value: 2.0

Richard J. 21 December 2012

This place is hugely overrated. If and when you get in (door staff are idiots – just say a random name and usually it works) it is full of disappointed tourists, who presumably found it somewhere in a guidebook, or were just unlucky enough to Google it. The staff are arrogant (because it is meant to be French; they're not…) the drinks are average at best and there is a stale, musty odour throughout the place. Go to London Cocktail Club if it's open, otherwise just pony up the cash and join a proper member's club. Century is across the road and is brilliant.

Food & Drink: 2.0

Service: 2.0

Atmosphere: 2.0

Value: 1.0

Jonny L. 14 August 2012

Just not worth the hassle of those idiotic door staff. I can only assume they must be supplied by a charity rehabilitating people with personality disorders. If you can get in (it's more or less pot luck without a booking) it's no better than average. Honestly, go to Purl or Night Jar instead – they're in a completely different class.

Food & Drink: 5.0

Service: 3.0

Atmosphere: 3.0

Value: 3.0

BoatLady platinum reviewer 18 May 2012

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…

Food & Drink: 5.0

Service: 5.0

Atmosphere: 5.0

Value: 4.0

Emma S. 23 December 2011

This is my type of place – hard to find, marked only by a beret wearing doorman. Feels nice to be on the guest list and no charge to get in before 11pm. Delicious cocktails brought to your table, nice tunes, dark and intimate. Loved it.

Food & Drink: 0.0

Service: 0.0

Atmosphere: 0.0

Value: 0.0

Lucy B 12 December 2011

Overrated doesn't begin to cover this. Sometimes arrogance can kill you – suspect this might be the case here.

Food & Drink: 3.0

Service: 0.0

Atmosphere: 1.0

Value: 1.0

Amy R. 14 October 2011

I really wanted to love this place. After getting a taste for “speak-easy” cocktail bars from recent visits to New York and LA, I was looking forward to my first visit to the ECC. And it was all going so well. We sailed past the doorman, who scrubbed Helen's name of his list (my name isn't Helen so not too sure what that was all about), went upstairs and ordered our slightly unusual but expertly made cocktails. The bar was nice, but somehow seemed a little too try hard, and if you looked closely was a tad shabby. But I was in great company, had a delicious drink, so who cares? But I did care that after 40min, one of the waitresses came over and said she was ever so sorry (not very convincingly) but we had to vacate our table for a couple who had a reservation. Now maybe that's not too bad, but what I really didn't like was that although we were mid cocktail and conversation she expected us to jump up instantly. She “kindly” offered that we could stand at the bar (as if we should be grateful we weren't being kicked out!), and when I asked to settle our tab she insisted we should have been told this would happen (we weren't, in fact her colleague had offered us the table), and further we had to stand up before she took my payment. Frankly it just was really bad service from someone who clearly was looking down her nose at us (in that posh shop assistant way). Such a shame. Maybe you'll go and will be lucky and not bump into the waitress with attitude (although from the reviews it seems this sadly might be a common experience). But this bar just isn't up to expectations and doesn't ooze cool like it's American cousins (I would highly recommend Bar Marmont in LA or the amazing for employees only in NYC), so I'll be avoiding in future.

Food & Drink: 0.0

Service: 0.0

Atmosphere: 0.0

Value: 0.0

Mehdi N. 18 September 2011

It was a lot worse than I red from the reviews! They charged us £5 to get in at 11:00 on saturday which already sounds like a cheap Soho back street late bar trying to cash in! Drinks were awrful and uninteresting and the door man kept us in the queue for 10 min saying it was full and when we got in it was half empty! Don't bother with this is place. There are a lot better cocktail bars in London.

Food & Drink: 0.0

Service: 0.0

Atmosphere: 0.0

Value: 0.0

Rachael J. 17 September 2011

Absolutely appalling service and attitude. I can confirm much of what some of the other reviewers have written. Do not even bother, you will be wasting your time.

Food & Drink: 2.0

Service: 0.0

Atmosphere: 1.0

Value: 1.0

T W. 24 August 2011

It's never a good start when your first experience of a place is a rude doorman and sadly it set the tone for the whole place. Our service was slow and our waiter rude. Cocktails are a mixed bunch, some were very good some were very bad. At one point our waiter mixed up our drinks and then when we asked him to clarify what they were he informed us it was blantantly obvious (it really wasn't – it's an experimental cocktail club!) and then said it was our fault he had made the mistake!? Finally managed to pay and get out of there after repeated attempts had been ignored. Won't be going back.

Food & Drink: 5.0

Service: 5.0

Atmosphere: 5.0

Value: 4.0

Madeleine E. 20 February 2011

Love it Love it Love it Loooove it!!! I just saw the reviews of this bar and I totally disagree with them. Please dont listen to this. I regret that people might had bad experience but how can you write “I have never been treated in such a way” ? How can someone even rate the drinks and atmosphere when you did not even enter the bar? Please stay fair! This bar is just amazing, cool people, music … just good vibes everywhere. The staff is so friendly and professional. They know everything about cocktails and can advice you something special. Its a pleasure to watch on the bar how they are mixing. (Never had a better Whisky Smash) Yes it is true it is quickly crowded and you may end up having problems getting in but that is something you can not be angry about. I have been there last weekend and I will go again as soon as possible. The Cocktails are just YUMMY! I can strongly recommend it…cheers!

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