Whenever I go on a date, the first test is where he suggests we sit. A dark secluded corner away from prying eyes, or a seat at the bar? I’ve been on enough dates now to realise this says a lot about the guy. I like sitting at the bar for two reasons; one because that’s where the action is and two, if your date turns out to be a drag you can always chat to the barman.
The Racketeer has both; dark secluded dimly lit corners and a bustling bar where the cocktail connoisseurs work their magic. It has an interesting backstory too (if you’re struggling for conversation). The venue is named after an infamous Victorian pickpocketing gang who made a racket to distract their victims before stealing their valuables. But don’t worry, you’ll find none of that riff raff here. The bar may have been restored back to its former Victorian glory but not down to every dastardly detail. On the contrary, this bar is pure sophistication thanks to an expert team; Tyvian Vigrass, Marco Torre and Jack Foxcroft, who have spent 20 years honing their skills in bars across London.
And it shows. The cocktail menu is a carefully crafted work of art, with ingenious creations such as Hanky Panky; a bitter sweet mixture of Gin, Antica formula and fernet branca or the Penicillin in a Storm, which consists of Chivas 12, Laphroaig, porter, ginger and lemon.
The venue also has a cellar that’s perfect for events, parties and just generally spooking people who are looking for the loo. There’s also an outdoor patio for leisurely summer drinking, and during cold winter months, you can curl up on a chesterfield next to a log burning fire and soak up the cosy candlelit atmosphere.
We’ll certainly be going back. It’s a relaxed little Clerkenwell gem with friendly barmen who know a thing or two about mixing a great cocktail. Locals and those in the know will be gifted a Victorian penny from the team entitling them to 20% off their first round whenever they come in, or the opportunity to roll the bar’s golden dice – if they roll a six, the first round is free.
Address: 105 Kings Cross Road, London WC1X 9LR
Tube: King’s Cross