Words by Ian Cameron on 07-Feb-2013

Address: 28 Bedfordbury Street, London, WC2N 4BJ, United Kingdom
Door: Make reservation
Style: Cocktail bar
Food: Bar Snacks


BYOC is secreted away, totally unsigned, underneath a fresh juice bar in Covent Garden. It's a tiny, candlelit basement with a scratchy jazz soundtrack, entered by a door behind the juice bar's service counter, and to that end it's a convincing 'speakeasy'. But that's not the whole story: BYOC doesn't sell alcohol - you Bring Your Own Cocktail. Or rather, for £20 per person you bring a bottle of spirit or liqueur and the bartender will make you bespoke cocktails with it for two hours. The bar is actually a vintage trolley full of juices, herbs, spices, incense, bitters and ice.

The caveat is that the quality of the drink you get is dictated by the talent of the bartender on duty and their ability to deal with esoteric liquids brought in alongside more predictable vodkas, whiskies, rums and gins. In practice, tables lend what they have brought to each other, making for a fairly full arsenal. More importantly, it's run by the manager of a well-known and respected bar (which can't be named), so you're in pretty safe hands. Is it gimmicky? No doubt. Does it make for gimmicky drinks? No. Btw it's reservations only.