Fancy something a little different to the usual East End hipster drinking hotspots? Get yourself down to Loves Company. This chilled and funky space is a great place to sit back, relax, and make friends. And the good news is, the crew here don’t take themselves too seriously – among the ingredients on the menu you’ll find gems like ‘Liquid Polygamy’ and ‘Powdered Libido’.
So the new toast of the town?
Yep, quite literally. As well as offering a decent selection of whimsical and inventive cocktails, Loves Company boasts an impressive toastie menu with brilliant names such as the Cheezus of Nazareth. Let’s face it, there’s nothing like a large dose of melted gooeyness to accompany your cocktails…
Best for when you’re feeling…
…like you want to enjoy a drink in East London without having to be too ‘hipster’. It’s got a relaxed vibe whilst also maintaing a nice buzz in the evening. It’s also perfect when you’re craving carbs – we defy you not to give in to the toastie temptation.
Where is it?
Just off Old Street roundabout, not so far into Shoreditch that you feel the need to wear plastic glasses or knit yourself a comedy beard.
Who to go with?
Someone you want to while away an afternoon with, knowing it could stretch into an evening – a catch-up can easily turn into 2am shape-busting in the basement dance area. Also someone who won’t mind sharing food – you might get toastie-envy.
What makes it unique?
We like the fact there’s an ace cocktail and toastie menu. Simple. And we’d be surprised if you’ve ever encountered ‘Pure Bloodlust’ as an ingredient before…
So what’s the deal?
Two things: great drinks in a chilled environment. That’s not to say they don’t know how to get down with the best of them – there are funky DJs spinning tunes, and a cavernous space below decks where you’ll find people grooving until the early hours. They’re also keen on mixing things up with new talent, and often showcase guest chefs who concoct weird and wonderful toasties, as well as local artists and drinks connoisseurs.
The cocktail menu offers twelve libations, each given cheeky descriptions to match your mood. If you’re feeling ‘Flirtatious’, go for Let the Good Times Roll, while the El Luchador is described as ‘Provocative’.
Relaxed but equally buzzy, with the option of things getting more raucous as the night progresses. Sit by the glass frontage in the day and watch the fash-pack of East London parading past, or head downstairs in the evening when you want to party.
So what should I order?
We were particularly impressed with the fresh-tasting Old Street Cooler (Tanqueray gin, grapes, lemon juice and ‘ambrosia’ – it’s described as being Celestial). But our favourite was the Thank F**k It’s Buttered, a shorter, smooth concoction consisting of fat-washed Zacapa Rum. Not exactly healthy (and with a toastie perhaps a cardiac calamity). It also incorporates Tears of Ecstasy, which is another way of saying vanilla and orange bitters.
Other menu items?
The toasties are as much fun as the cocktails, and you can chow down on a Crustin Bieber, a Bare Grillz, or our favourite – the Notorious P.I.G, consisting of roast pork, chilli jam and Northumberland Baltic cheese.
Who’s behind it?
Loves Company is the collaboration between Lee Baker, who’s been a cocktail king of the Shoreditch scene for about a decade, and Kats Ugai, a Japanese punk-rocker with a history of music and fashion. Drinks whizz Russell Burgess heads the bar team.
Is it going to break the bank?
Drinks average at around £9, going up to a slightly pricier £11.50. Naturally these were our favourites – darn our expensive tastes.
Destined to become a firm favourite. It’s ideal in the day time (and they serve a mean iced tea), as well as a happening and bustling space in the evening. There are no airs and graces here – just a sense that these guys genuinely love your company, and are doing their darnedest to give you a good time.
104-122 City Road, London EC1V 2NR. lovescompany.co.uk
Rebecca Anne Milford, Twitter @rebecca_anne_m