A few months ago I wrote a piece for Daily Candy flagging up a fanciful new members bar on Curtain Road – Ninety Eight Bar and Lounge. Since then the bar has changed its exclusive tune and, luckily for all us ragamuffins, it is now open to general public.
Discreetly tucked under the somewhat grimy Curtain Road the three-roomed haven is wash of white, vintage pink and gilt, opulent French furniture and quirkily-dressed chairs. Despite its basement setting, a glass-roofed piano room means that by day it’s flooded with natural light and come evening becomes an atmospheric and intimate venue. The decor is fun, frivolous and artfully directed but without taking itself too seriously – an unexpected treat in an area pre-occupied with appearing ‘cool’.
On the launch night the clientele was a mix of art buyers, well-heeled ladies and Hoxton creatives (natch). The perfect spot for a post-work cocktail, daytime client meeting or sophisticated evening with the girls. Think fur lined seating, ostrich feather lamps and jars of Italian marshmallows and you’re getting close.
Behind the bar you’ll find expert mixologists (upstairs there’s a specialist mixology room which can be hired out), serving up bespoke cocktails. Owner Kathy Morrell certainly has an eye for style and this extends behind the bar – with bottles of weird and wonderful tonics from around the world all waiting to be sampled. Morrell’s personally concocted ‘infusions’ are the ones to look out for – Daisy recommends vodka with homegrown lavender for the ladies and brandy infused with the finest Cuban cigars for the gentlemen – intense and unusual flavours that will shock and delight in equal measure.
It’s Ninety Eight Bar and Lounge’s Sunday Vintage Sessions that we’re most looking forward to – high tea, prohibition cocktails, 30s bangs, black and white movies and tunes around the old Joanna, keep an eye on the website for full details www.ninetyeight-bar-lounge.com – a nice alternative to a pub quiz, roast spuds and (yawn) turkey over the festive season.
Ninety Eight Bar and Lounge is a veritable wonderland in the heart of East London – perhaps they could dig a rabbit hole that leads to the fantastical Calloo Callay a mere tumble away so we could all bypass the rain and the, er, Elbow Room crowd.
In a November of damp days, long chilly evenings and soggy feet we all need a little magic, why not find yours down the spiral staircase at 98 Curtain Road, EC2A.