Bar EC1

CTC Smithfields

Inside Ask for Janice, 50-52 Long Acre Lane, EC1A 9EJ
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Down a basement at the back of a restaurant, this newly opened and second incarnation of the Cocktail Trading Company is a welcome addition to an area thirsty for a sophisticated-yet-unpretentious drinking hole. Bartenders Andy Mill, Elliot Ball and Olly Brading already have a superb cocktail spot in Soho – no mean feat considering how saturated the area is with “speakeasies” and “hidden behind a really heavy bookshelf or under a trapdoor” kind of places. And its Barbican sister bar definitely plays in the same league. The attention to detail is remarkable, and the consideration the guys behind the bar give our somewhat confused preferences is refreshing to say the least. Here everything we try is dynamite, making the walls spin for more reasons than one. Starting with a bitter twist on a martini that totally hit the spot, we followed on with a beautifully presented cardamon and vanilla infused rum cocktail and the highlight – an off-menu, seriously mean and complex concoction of gin, citrus, cinnamon and notes of cocoa. Genius.