Wednesday, 16 November 2011

Bourne & Hollingsworth: The Fourth Wall 17/20*

Location: Pop Up, so anywhere

Visit: Saturday evening

To Note? They will email you a map with cryptic clues such as the degree of longitude or street names labeled by their first letter and you work out where to go. It gets harder every week

Ambiance 3/5
Design 4/5
Drinks 5/5
Staff 5/5
Extra LBS star: * For the fun of it

Bourne and Hollingsworth are on the move. You will still find them - or you can try as the entrance is rather difficult to locate – at Rathbone Place however they are running a pop up of their bar for “a while”. I thought it was just the month of November however on asking at the bar they said that they were on week 3 with a further 4 or 5 to go.

This pop-up does what it says on the tin. The Bourne and Hollingsworth bar – floral wallpaper, Victorian fireplace, brass lamps, tablecloths and all – is roaming between secret locations on a Friday and Saturday evening, 5pm to 1am. When I went The B&H team had set up camp in a furniture storage unit round the corner from Shoreditch Overground. As we sauntered along the street – I worked here for a year and was confident I at least had the street correct – we spotted a half-open roll-up iron door with candles either side and – oddly - a clothes rail of lab coats just inside. The candles gave it away however we still asked, a little hesitantly, if this was “it”. In response we were beckoned onwards:

“Why not come inside and have a look anyway”

So we ducked under and headed round the corner of the MDF exterior into…Bourne and Hollingsworth. It was still early so we caught up over the first round, a Chimps Tea was my drink of choice and partly because I have always wanted a cocktail in a teacup. It was very tasty, well made and a reasonable £7.50 (with most coming in between £7 and £8). By the time I moved onto my … the bar had started to fill up with a mixture of couples, friends, gaggles of girls and even some people on their own. Had they wandered in or were none of their friends interested?! The DJ was also warming up but the music was mainly classics from eras gone by. They do recommend booking if you plan on coming after 7.30 but this is just a matter of firing off a quick email. There was a group of 16 booked in last weekend so this is obviously an option too!

I tentatively asked about toilets but no have fears; they have that covered with the permanent onsite “facilities” for the ladies and a portaloo for the men, which could get pretty dark considering the bar is entirely candlelit. The only gripe was that it was FREEZING. Obviously this is in a warehouse type space without radiators and they tried their best with portable heaters but we could not stay for much longer without loosing at least one or two fingers. Hot cocktails would be a great idea to wrap your hands around! The barmen were friendly but the set up left little opportunity for interaction; I always prefer the option to perch at the bar where available to watch the magic happen and have a chat.

B&H’s pop up has all the joy of a good cocktail bar with excellent drinks and its unique “granny’s front room” style but with the added fun of never being sure where it will be next. I am definitely booking in again before Christmas brings this venture to a close. Bravo for effort.

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