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Set in the basement of Joe’s Southern Kitchen, Jailbird occupies what were once the cells of a police station. We didn’t warm to this bare, bland, boring blood-red mirrored box – and tinny-sounding 1980s pop (instead of the promised Northern soul, blues and rockabilly) failed to improve matters. One staff member assured us the owners were ‘working on the decor’. Work also needs doing on the distinctly ‘girly’ cocktail list, judging by our jam-jar serve of Maple Pie (Jim Beam Maple, lemon, apple juice and ‘apple pie syrup’); Kentucky Cousin (a cloyingly sweet Julep); and an £8.50 Bullish Negroni (featuring Bulleit rye whiskey). Picklebacks, Brooklyn lager and £5 Margaritas and Mojitos may keep some boys happy. Wings, hot dogs and pulled-pork buns appear on a snacks list alongside our order of popcorn shrimp, which had somehow morphed into chewy Chinese-style fish balls. Serve these at Pentonville and watch the jailbirds riot!
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