Address: 171 Knightsbridge, London SW7 1DW
Address: Pop-up (closed) at Charter Street; new venue to open in September at 77 Curtain Road, London EC2A 3BS
Type: Cocktail bar
We wouldn't normally cover a pop-up, particularly one that was only open for four days, and that has already closed. But Callooh Callay's first spin-off will be manifesting itself in a permanent home from September, so here we go. Beard to Tail is, in its own words, a "contemporary meat-focused restaurant with a kick-ass whiskey bar with elements of Shoreditch gay rock glam" (they lost us after the word 'bar' but we're expecting a similarly quirky environment to its parent). It gave a glimpse of the concept in a run-down former boozer near Old Street last week, but you won't have long to wait until it re-opens in a basement site at 77 Curtain Road, next door to the Elbow Rooms and close to Callooh Callay itself.
Still, the concept won't change much apparently, and we're happy with that - meat and liquor being one of the prevailing trends. Predominantly Beard to Tail is a restaurant, offering what the name suggests will be relatively obscure cuts of meat from the very front to the very back of our favourite meal-time animals, though so far the weirdest thing on the menu was pig's trotter - and presumably they won't actually serve animal facial hair. Like the pop-up, the Curtain Road home will boast a cocktail bar and you won't, in any case, be required to eat in order to drink.
The permanent site will expand the pop-up's five-strong list of cocktails to up to 15 drinks, most conceived by group bar manager Andrea Montague. Think whiskey-based drinks and classic American flavours, sometimes imaginatively paired with old country additions such as absinthe or Pedro Ximenez sherry. The star of the show was undoubtedly the Andy Warhol, served in a Campbell's soup tin (Jack Daniel's, Clayton's Kola tonic, Cherry Heering and soda) for "a fresh take on cherry cola" - this having been conceived by Clotilde Lataille. Expect twists on Old Fashioneds, Juleps and the like, and there'll be whiskey flights, including white dog (unaged, new-make spirit: nice touch), rye and bourbon, a few bottled beers and a couple of wines. The back-bar will be North American whiskey-focused but with some Scotch and Irish whisk(e)y too and we're told these spirits will also be used in the kitchen in various dressing and sauces.
With 700 of the bar industry's finest venturing over the pop-up's threshold, its success was a lesson in the power of social media (it already has more than 1,000 Twitter followers), and a reminder of the respect the Callooh Callay team has garnered in its first three years. Above all, the vibe was great, they did an amazing job with a difficult space, particularly on the food side, and we are really looking forward to visiting the finished product. 4.5/5