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Like Callooh Callay, the Shoreditch stalwart that hosts this semi-secret bar within a bar, The Palace of Humbug derives its handle from a Lewis Carroll poem. Owner Richard Wynne has sought to create a rough and ready rock & rollers’ hangout in an upstairs space that was hitherto Jubjub. The concise drinks list, a joint effort by Liam Broom and his creative team, aims for a spiritual approach to cocktails, with progressive fixes such as Confidence, Envy, Calm and Kindness. Our bartender’s cod-philosophical musings about the yin-yang concept makes for agreeable, harmless humbuggery. The proof is in the drinking, however; Contentment (‘the feeling you get after a Sunday roast’) is found in a Manhattan made with Talisker whisky, Eldorado rum and a hint of English Breakfast tea, garnished with a toasted marshmallow. As for ‘Anxiety’ (Zacapa rum, yuzu, soy and avocado), that strikes when you notice the price tag.
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