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Local live wire Alex Foley took Manhattan’s legendary Katz’s Delicatessen as inspiration for this cosy ‘salt beef bar and canteen’. Mercer & Co not only provides an antidote to Chapel Market’s cheerless fast-food chains, but also rustles up cocktails at low prices. We’re especially upbeat about the bar’s take on Espresso Martini and a smoked rocks Margarita, served in a samphire and lapsang souchong salt-rimmed tumbler; we’re less taken with The Liberator, a green whisky, vermouth and pastis brute. For sustenance, beef chilli-topped macaroni cheese is ideal hangover chow, though a Reuben sandwich (homemade salt beef, sauerkraut and Swiss cheese) is hard to resist; alternatives include bagels, lunch boxes and salads. In fine weather, order a Hammerton beer and watch the compelling soap opera of the street market from a pavement table. Mercer’s basement is given over to Kelder, a not-for-profit creative lab that encourages local artists – a nice touch.
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