If you hang out at bars regularly, you probably know that the small things carry a lot of weight. If you’re looking for the perfect spot to hold a 30th birthday party in London, or even further afield, take a look at what sets the best bars apart from the rest.
The many days I have spent sitting on uncomfortable barstools is probably to blame if I develop any back issues years from now when old age sets in. I prefer to stand through the night rather than spend time atop what goes for a seat at most bars; awkwardly designed and shaky barstools that have no ergonomic features. However, thanks to establishments such as the DBGB in the East Village charting the way forward, you can still find some great barstools to sit on. Furthermore, you no longer have to have your coat hanging off a small hook between your legs all night, as some stools also come with a storage area built into to the space underneath the seat.
Many night spots fail to put enough effort and focus into their bar area, forgetting that it is not possible to have a bar without this essential part of the entire set up. It is no longer enough to throw together an elbow high block of wood. I don’t want more room than I can reach – I want something that comfortably accommodates my elbows, food and drink. No more no less.
My friends can attest to the many times they have been directed to a spot, all the way across the room, after entering an establishment, ready to get a drink. Reading chalk in a poorly-lit space from an awkward angle is no cakewalk. Fortunately though, Manhattan’s The Pony Bar and others like it put more into ensuring that their patrons are aware of their available offering.
It still seems that passing a piece of paper across the counter is quite a burden. Otherwise, why do so many service providers fail to provide a list that their customers can hold in their hands? Boston’s Drink, for instance, has a fully bespoke offering, and doesn’t have a menu to speak of. It is understandable that maintaining an updated menu, on a day to day basis, can be challenging given their expansive liquor and wine collection as well as the taps that are always changing. However, for the price of two and a half cocktails, or something in the region of £40, bar owners can invest in a laser printer from Best Buy.
Wherever you live, you are likely to get a shaker pint regardless of whether you order for a gin and tonic, bloody Mary or Bud Light. However, getting the right glassware for your drink is essential for aesthetics and aromatics purposes, regardless of my past views on anyone with glassware preferences.
You have crossed into a highly pretentious space of existence once you start worrying about the ice you get at drinking establishments. On the other hand, it does matter, at least to me. Similar to glassware, the taste of your beverage is influenced by the size and shape of the ice in your glass. With that in mind, you should steer clear of any cocktail bars that use a watery mess of ice cubes in your Negroni cocktail, for instance. In South Carolina, Charleston’s The Gin Joint definitely impressed me with their ice this year. An industrial machine used to make huge ice blocks for use in the crafting of ice sculptures is used to produce their ice. To obtain ice that is of the right shape (cubic or spherical), clarity and melting rate for your specific cocktail, they use sledgehammers to break down the blocks of ice.
You are definitely going to spend a reasonable amount of time in bar toilets if you hang out at bars regularly. As it stands, you might even be thinking about stopping drinking at bars given the huge number of bar toilets that not only lack hand soap but are also tiny, stinky and filthy. In Belgium, the toilets at Bruges’ Den Dyver are fortunately enough to make you reconsider such thoughts. Even George Jetson, after drinking a few pints on a shaky stool at the bar, would not have expected to find the advanced self-cleaning toilets found in this establishment’s toilets.