5CC at the Exmouth Arms

Words by Ian Cameron on 19-Apr-2013

Address: Above The Exmouth Arms, 23 Exmouth Market, London, EC1R 4QL, United Kingdom
Tel: +44 (0)20 3664 6454
Door: Open door/walk-ins
Style: Cocktail bar


5CC sits discreetly above the almost-always crowded Exmouth Arms. Not quite a speakeasy - it has a blackboard outside advertising it - once you've navigated your way through the throngs of pub goers downstairs you'll find a charming cocktail bar of dark wood, leather and slatted blinds. Think 1930s detective agency meets gentlemen's club.

This is the older of the two 5CC siblings (it opened in February) and is an L-shaped space with a small bar at one end, with lounge seating set around polished copper tables. In one corner, an impressive apothecary cabinet is filled with tiny perfume bottles (of 5cc volumes- geddit?) that contain the 'Forgotten Range' - a collection of bottle-aged cocktails filled with Negronis, Manhattans and Boulevardiers. You can also try these cocktails freshly made using modern products and the difference is manifest - the flavours in the aged variations well-integrated and behaving differently in the mouth, the younger ones more lively and with more 'bite'. Which is better? The choice is yours - and they're both £10.

The menu also has a list of classic twists, including flips, fizzes, and stirred drinks, with judicious use of housemade ingredients and infusions. All came well balanced and well presented (£9-£12).