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Regularly acclaimed by critics the world over, this wee dive bar has won more awards than we care to count: in 2016, it even scooped 'Best International Cocktail Bar' at America's prestigious Tales of the Cocktail bash. No bad for a prosaic, no-frills, "low-rent basement" (owner Andy Bird's description). This is no achingly cool 'concept', no big-budget design team's take on a Prohibition speakeasy, 1970s disco or any other corny theme you care to mention; there’s no pretentious molecular malarkey either: what Happiness has in spades, is heart and soul. It also has a team of chipper, capable staff who are keen to craft old-school favourites and gratifying new stirs to order: try Dirty Sanchez (a tropical cobbler involving Havana Selección rum, crème de banane, port, Manzanilla sherry and pineapple juice). Like the Burt Bacharach song by Dionne Warwick that inspired the bar’s handle, this seemingly effortless number oozes class and sophistication.
When I was working in Shoreditch, one of my favourite places for a post work / pre dinner drink was Happiness Forgets, a charming basement speakeasy on Hoxton Square. It’s a popular venue and has a no standing policy so I usually reserve a table, although they also have space for walk ins (just arrive early). Even on weekdays the place is buzzing and has a really great vibe. The cocktails are deliciously inventive and staff are friendly and attentive. A definite winner...
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