I always get excited when new cocktail bars open in London, especially a conveniently located one. The Cocktail Trading Club is a few minutes walk from Oxford Circus, tucked away in the basement of Central & Co (making it quite hard to find unless you actually know this).
Its logo, the owl, is what caught my eye first when reading about it online. I love their branding and their website and how the owl theme continues in the bar; with an owl menu and owl drawings around the place. The bar is dark and small and very ‘Mad Men’. A huge painting of Churchill adorns one wall, while another wall is covered in caricatures of famous actors (Rowan Atkinson, John Cleese etc). There are book cases stuffed full of dusty books, and dimly lit lamps hang from the low ceiling. It is cramped and busy, energetic and entertaining.
It was set up by three lifelong bar tenders: Andy Mill, Elliot Ball and Olly Brading, who wanted to take the best from everywhere they had worked, and open their own place. But they want to do more than just inspire their customers and give them what they thought were the most perfect, fun cocktails. They want share their skills and knowledge, and help those who want to learn how to make cocktails, or bartenders wanting to improve. So they’ve set up Cocktail Masterclasses, as well as a ‘Professional Bar School’ (this is still in progress).
So there have been high expectations for this place. People will not be disappointed. Innovative cocktails are served in all kinds of devices – from Wellies (called #FestivalChic) to mugs in the shape of, surprise surprise, owls (called ‘Tu-Whit-Tu-Whoo-Woo’). Personally, I thought the cocktails looked better than they tasted, mine missing a bit more of the ‘zing’ I like in a cocktail. But I enjoyed my evening there, the service was good and efficient despite how busy it was, and I loved the decor.
Ideal for a pre-Soho dinner drink. But you most definitely must book a table, well in advance.
22 Great Marlborough St,
London W1F 7HU
020 7427 6097