The Racketeer may have just restored my faith in the value of forking out for cocktails. I was becoming disillusioned with the theatrics of overpriced, mixed-up combinations of exotic liquors with bits of things balanced on top and set on fire. That type of cocktail tastes pretty good, not as good as you hope, but you still feel obliged to loudly declare how delicious it is and encourage all around you to join in. The drinks at the Racketeer are, refreshingly, just really good drinks. Great flavours and honestly priced. The menu could be seen as quite classic, but not without originality. The highlights include the Penicillin In A Storm - Chivas Regal 12 Blended Scotch, Ginger Syrup, Lemon, Laphroaig 10 & Porter Float at £8.50, and the Black Spice – Rittenhouse 100 Rye, PX Sherry, Dry Curacao, Fernet Branca & Black Pepper Tincture at £9.50. Very few, if any of the drinks go above the £10 mark with most priced similarly at £8.50 – unusual for a bar specialising in mixed drinks. The building used to be an ‘east London boozer’ which has been stripped back to reveal original tiles, walls and features. It’s been given an unassumingly elegant finish that manages to be tasteful without being pretentious – much like the drinks. They have a huge amount of space for a cocktail bar – an expansive ground floor seating area with huge Victorian windows, generous basement and if you like your cocktails a bit cosier, you could curl up next to the wood-burner in the back room. I know lots of people who are into cocktails and many who really aren’t, but I can’t think of anyone I couldn’t bring here. They have a wide selection for beer drinkers and plenty to delight a wine enthusiast. For me though, the best thing about the place is the staff. It’s a rarity in London to see this level of attentiveness and warmth from an entire team and I’m sure this contributes to the ‘local’ feel of the place, despite having launched only recently.
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