104 City Road, London, EC1V 2NR, United Kingdom
Tel: +44 (0)207 253 3777
Website: Not supplied
Hours: Closed Mon; 5pm-11pm Tues, Wed and Sun; Thurs 5pm-midnight; Fri-Sat 5pm-2am
Door: Open door
Style: Cocktail bar
Recommended for: Cocktails
Price guide: Middling
Food: No food
Old Street roundabout was previously the sole cocktail domain of Nightjar, but the number two bar on the 2013 Drinks International 50 Best Bars list now faces competition from a lively and relaxed bar over two floors, which has just opened up directly across the road.
Comparing Nightjar to ...Loves Company is like comparing chalk and cheese, but they evoke both ends of the London cocktail spectrum. Sporting a ruby red colour scheme on our visit, we're told the design of ...Loves Company will evolve with an artist drawing directly onto the walls. A rough and ready design aesthetic speaks of a utilitarian, no-frills approach - a far cry from Nightjar's tin ceiling, decorative mirrors and esoteric cocktail paraphernalia. Cocktails here are accomplished, well-balanced and served simply - no whimsical garnishes.
Ostensibly across two levels, the focus is in the sprawling basement, where an enjoyably chaotic atmosphere sees bartenders working fast and furious to keep up with demand, while waitresses bus them out to tables as quick as possible. A short list of eight cocktails, all classic in style, use imaginative ingredients or unusual pairings to distance themselves from any accusations of usual suspects - red wine vinegar acidity lightens the richness of port in A Sister Called Charity; sweet amaretto and rum is tempered with Aperol and Angostura Bitters in the Jack Sparrow; the freshness of pisco meets the richness of Pedro Ximenez sherry in the Chilled Flame (all drinks £7.80). Great fun, good drinks.