Having lived in East London for a couple years now it’s fair to say a lot of my friends assume I’m part of the uber-cool, hipster bandwagon crowd that moved in a few years back. I’m really, REALLY not (honestly none of my clothing is mustard and I don’t drink flat whites) but to keep up appearances, every now and then I have avocados for breakfast and also go to really cool ‘underground’ events.
And the most recent hip, happening underground event I went to was The Underground Drinking Club. I mean, you don’t get more underground than that do you. And it sounds pretty cool to boot.
That’s because it is.
“No menus, no recipes, just pure creative licence to bring you innovative
and outstanding cocktails.“
I first wanted to go to The Underground Drinking Club back in October but other pre-organised fun got in the way (a knitting class, a vintage fair, craft beer tasting – something of that ilk, you know what us hipsters are like) so when I saw tickets go on sale for a December shindig I had to snap them up.
I say snap them up…what actually happened was I went out with my pal Kate (to 35 New Cavendish you might remember, read about that HERE) where we drank loads of Espresso Martinis & some sambuccas, we saw the link on twitter, bought the tickets and in our drunken stupor promptly forgot all about them until about a week later when I checked my emails. YOLO.
So anyway…three days before Christmas and it was finally time to go to The Underground Drinking Club. Now I’ll be honest, I could have done without it being TWO DAYS after my works Christmas do which started at 12pm and carried on until 2am and resulted in me waking up with an arm that smelled too much like tequila and a lot of bad decisions, OH and a copy of this photo…
Yup, we created the last supper shot in the restaurant during our Christmas meal. What crazy cats we are! Although I have to admit, I am disappointed with my effort, totally the wrong face. Soz team.
Anway, I could also have done without the UDC being ONE DAY after Sunderland beat Newcastle 0-1. Simply because I was already hungover but of course lost my mind as the winning goal went in, poured at least 20 pints down my neck and ended up waking up with the cloudiest head ever, the after taste of an ill-advised late night curry in my mouth and the feeling that I NEVER wanted to drink again…even if it was at a cool, underground, club.
So it’s fair to say I was a tad broken and on a double whammy of a hangover but SUCH IS LIFE. I couldn’t miss out. I manned up and told myself the hangover was nothing that another night on the tiles wouldn’t solve (I also yelled this at my boyfriend and anyone else who cared to remind me that I wasn’t 22 and couldn’t ‘handle it’ any more). I slapped on some make-up, threw on some clothes and hopped on the bus to Old Street.
I rocked up to the station still feeling pretty fradge and got in the queue for The UDC. They’d taken over one of the retail units INSIDE the station, just for the evening. Kate soon joined me and we were soon welcomed inside by the friendly team running the night.
Candles and what we initially mistook for the most hipster centre-pieces ever, adorned the tables. We pitched up in the corner and waited to find out how we got our hands on some strong and sexy cocktails.
Geoff then appeared at the head of our table and explained to us what was about to go down. He told Kate & I and our table neighbours (Sophia & Matt) that tonight we were all drinking buddies, yup Geoff included. He enlightened us to the fact that the table centre-piece was not actually for decoration but ingredients ideas for our cocktails that he would be whipping up.
He also told us that our spirit of choice
didn’t have to be should be the Auchentoshan single malt whisky that was on display on the shelving behind us. We gormlessly nodded along.
He disappeared off and we got chatting with our new drinking buddies, trying to work out what ingredients we might want to use and whether we were playing with a dried mushroom or not. Geoff re-appeared and asked us what we fancied trying first to which he received a chorus of tumbleweed. He took pity on our poor overwhelmed (and doubley hungover) souls and reeled off a whisky concoction to get us going. All I remember was there was something ashy on the rim and egg whites on the top but it went down a treat.
(Umm this picture ^^^ is stolen from the Underground Drinking Club Twitter – hence it’s professionalism. But that’s me and the gang clinking the first of many cocktails.)
And thus the evening began. Cocktail after cocktail, round after round, shot after shot. Stronger and stronger they came. Our drinking buddies became our new best friends (can’t WAIT for the wedding guuuuys). Geoff became a sort of demi-god as we ooohed and ahhhed over his mixing skillz and the ice cube in one of our drinks became a crystal ball. Naturally.
The two hour booking whizzed by and before we knew it we were stumbling out the door. We left happy and heavily sedated on whisky and with our new best friends in tow decided to continue the party and gate-crash the final part of what had been their ‘day of fun’. (Matt had spent the day surprising Sophia with a whole hoard of activities, it started with ice-skating at Winterville, then breakfast at the Pavilion cafe, an afternoon watching the Nutcracker ballet, dinner at Mildreds and finally plonking themselves next to myself and Kate at the UDC – umm brilliant much?).
So we hopped on the tube to Liverpool street and then made our way to Heron Tower where the final part of Sophia’s jolly-journey ended . We swayed into the lift and headed up to the 38th floor for yet more drinks at the always stunning Sushi Samba.
We took in the awesome view, admired the most amazing tree ever and later I also happened upon a Ukulele – y’know, as you do.
It was fun.
That kind of fun you have when you say you’re going to have one drink (I totes promised my boyfriend I’d be home bang on 10.30pm when we were kicked out of the UDC) and end up rolling through the door at 7am…two days later (I didn’t but only because two days later would have been Christmas day).
The set up in the UDC is super informal and it was really nice being forced into to talking to other people. London has a reputation for being unfriendly but The Underground Drinking Club is the opposite of this.
During each pop-up the Underground Drinking Club do three sessions (early, late and later). Bookings are 2 hours long (ours was 8.30pm-10.30pm which was the middle ‘late’ slot), tickets are £25 (this includes ALL your drinks for the evening sesh) and fun is compulsory. The quicker you down your cocktails the quicker more arrive. Of course though, we should all drink responsibly throughout.
I don’t know when the next event will be but I will definitely be doing my best to get a ticket (you can find out by joining the club HERE) and who knows, if you get a ticket you may just be lucky enough to sit at my table and then we too could be new best friends!
2015 is aaaaaaaaaallll about Underground Drinking Clubs.