It is inescapably true that £9 is a lot to pay for a cocktail; it is inescapably truer that £75 is a lot to pay for an ‘infusion jar’. Don’t worry; infusion jar was not in my drinking vocabulary until I found myself at Curtain Road staring at The Pony World Cup – one of the many concoctions that Shoreditch’s Hoxton Pony serve on their seasonal fruit based cocktail menu.
Pay attention to the term ‘concoction’. When ingredients such as raisons and Stolichnaya marry together in a self-cooling jar, cocktail is too tame a word. That is not to say The Hoxton Pony doesn’t cater to the more traditional palette, each bartender is a trained mixologist and can whip up a Mojito at the drop of a mint leaf. But quit boring on about cocktails I hear the restless socialites cry. What of the vibe, the clientele and the food?
The vibe is Sex and the City ; think dim adult lighting, with electronica favourites like Crystal Castles energising the spacious interior. For shits and giggles a wrecked car – a nod to Massive Attack’s Mezzanine – is attached to one of the walls and preened City slickers drink beneath it, apparently unconcerned for their safety. To complete the modern arty feel, fake stuffed birds are perched behind the bar and a massive double-sided picture takes centre stage.
I dined at THP on a Wednesday when it was relatively quiet and there was a lack of club life raging beneath. However the scooter-riding Italiano bar manager Antonio took me on a tour of the club below. ‘What sexy lighting!’ I blurted out with typical aplomb and forsooth I spoke the truth. Mirrors lined the just-big-enough-to-be-fun, just-small-enough-to feel-intimate space and white strip lights conjured up a classy bordello ambience. Everything from the bar to the decks was brand spanking new, fitting as this establishment, formerly The Stoned Pony, only opened in the summer.
Back upstairs my companion and I feasted on soups and salads and pies and crumbles with a shout out going to the roasted winter vegetables and some tasty homemade custard.
My only objection to an establishment which caters to eaters, drinkers, dancers and chronic loungers is that the solid blocks of table means there are no sly games of footsie to be had or, as my dinner date complained: ‘I’m riding the pony side-saddle.’
104-108 Curtain Road
Tel: 020 7613 2844
Mon-Thurs: 11.00am – 1.00am
Friday: 11.00am – 2.00am
Saturday: 12.00pm – 2.00am
Club nights are Thursday, Friday and Saturday
For more info check out: www.thehoxtonpony.com