Hoi Polloi

Words by Jane Ryan on 03-Dec-2013

Address: 100 Shoreditch High St, London, E1 6JQ, United Kingdom
Tel: +44 (0)20 8880 6100
Email: reception@hoi-polloi.co.uk
Website: view Hoi Polloi’s website
Door: Open door/walk-ins
Style: Restaurant bar
Food: Set menu
Established: 2013


Hoi Polloi, on the ground floor of the new Ace Hotel London in trendy Shoreditch, is predictably cool. Taking its name from the Greek, meaning 'the majority', Holi Polloi has come to refer to the common folk, or as the Victorians so delicately put it, 'the great unwashed'. Yet today the masses who congregate here seem to consist of a hipster east London crowd: think apple macs, beards and trendy glasses, probably a 'fixee' chained up outside. That could be a recipe for pretentiousness, but it's not - actually it's remarkably friendly.

The open-plan brasserie space has been launched by Pablo Flack and David Waddington, of Bistrotheque fame, who have created a calming, contemporary space. The bar itself sits at one corner with but a few stools. A 12-strong cocktail list sits in a hotel 'newspaper' and drinks names are borrowed from 'polari' - an archaic, covert language prominent among gay men when homosexuality was still illegal. Drinks arrive well-balanced and punchy in slender contemporary glassware.

The bar in the lobby of the hotel has a shortened list of the cocktails and is an equally cool space to perch for a drink - in fact, there's far more room to drink here, at the bar in a lounge or the lobby itself. Staff in both bars are chatty, knowledgeable about the drinks and totally on-message stylistically - think facial hair and tattoos to accompany their uniforms of pink jumpers and white trainers. It's hard to leave this place, not least because they implore you to stay: "Why go home?" says the menu. "Stay the night and see you back here for breakfast."