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With the-self-deprecation of Dry January well and truly over, we at Vada round up three recently opened bars to try out in London from Camden, to Oxford Street, to Tooting.
Tucked away behind Selfridges, FAM bar headed up by Megs Miller is the place to go for a pick-me-up. FAM, short for family, eludes to best friends and chosen family, an idea relatable to many in the LGBT community. And in this sense FAM embraces a melting-pot, and welcoming approach. The intimate bar (of 50 covers), means when the bar gets busy (and it always seems to, including mid-week after work when we popped in), you will inevitably be drawn into the conversation of those on the next table. This inclusive vibe is further enhanced by the ‘good time’ vinyl records wall next to he bar, where guests can peruse and request their favourite tunes, so naturally we chose Madonna and Blondie, which got the whole bar singing along.
FAM offers cocktails that draw on ingredients from local producers such as the Sir Duke cocktail (£10.50), which uses London potato vodka and pastis made at the Bloomsbury Distillery, only a short walk from the bar. We’d also recommend the Brand New Shoes (£10.50) made with London gin, seasonal shrub topped with English sparkling wine.
We weren’t overly enthusiastic about the bar snacks, but FAM focuses on combining great cocktails in a friendly hangout environment, so a destination for those who are hungry.
Address: 31 Duke Street, London, W1U 1LG
More information: fam.bar
Bayou Bar, Tooting Broadway Market
The latest addition to the ever-evolving Tooting Broadway Market is Bayou Bar, who hope to bring some New Orleans party to the area. Bayou bar has partnered with local producers to create a delicious edition to Tooting’s brilliant and evolving food and drink scene.
The small – a choice of three – but perfectly formed cocktail selection includes a Frozen Strawberry Daiquiri (£8), a Hurricane (£8.50) and a Sazerac (£9). The former go down very easily, as we found out. Then to soak up the drinks and ensure you can keep the party going on longer the resident Slingin’ Po Boys team guarantee to have you covered. With something completely new to Tooting market their New Orleans Po Boys will give you the taste of the deep south in sandwich form, either beef brisket, cajun chicken, blackened shrimp, or buffalo fried cauliflower.
In the evenings the Bayou Bar extends into the market, hosting events and brilliant bands and DJ’s including the renowned jazz, rhythm and blues band Fallen Hero’s on Saturdays and piano man Michael G Moore, with his vast selection of classic rock piano tunes: both guaranteed to get your evening started and keep it going until home time!
Address: Broadway Market Tooting, 29 Tooting High Street, London, SW17 0RJ
More information: facebook.com/bayoubarlondon
Croque Monsieur @ Lost Boys Pizza
Londoners are invited to have wild and wonderful times with La Fee Verte (‘the Green Fairy’), in the basement of Lost Boys Pizza (which we previously reviewed). The almost authentic Absinthe Bar, Croque Monsieur, has a truly Bohemian welcome. To make this entirely authentic (based on our experiences of drinking absinthe in Paris in our student days, decades ago), two additions are needed: sugar cubes to soak up some of the green liqueur, and a bite of baguette to help remove any unwanted lingering aftertaste.
Featuring absinthe fountains on each table, church pews as seating and Art Deco prints on the wall, Croque Monsieur offers an extensive range of brands, from reversed engineered liquids to more traditional names, meaning guests will be able to enjoy absinthe in its purest forms, as well as in delicious and approachable cocktails. There are no rules, but the Green Fairy provides a selection of Inhibition Hats which help guests magically lose theirs.
Address: 245 Eversholt Street, London, NW1 1BA
More information lostboyspizza.com