35, Earlham Street, London, WC2H 9LD, United Kingdom
Tel: +44 (0)20 7240 5142
Website: Not supplied
Hours: Daily noon-midnight
Door: Open door
Style: Cocktail bar
Recommended for: Cocktails, Food, Fun/atmosphere
Price guide: Middling
Food: Full menu
Images By: diffordsguide.com
An institution is reborn: the former Detroit, a bar once renowned for a stellar list of bartending talent, including Dick Bradsell and Tony Conigliaro, but had latterly lost its gloss, has reopened in a new guise where log cabin meets Americana.
Not much you can do about the layout of this basement, but we always liked the rabbit warren of rooms. The bar's in the same place, there's now an open kitchen, and its once-stylish futuristic spaceship motifs have been replaced with architectural rough wood finishes, formica, a Wurlitzer and vintage advertising.
Pull down a drinks menu from the ceiling next to the bar - they're suspended on elastic - and choose from a list of classically inspired but amusingly named cocktails that reference modern American cultural icons, from Stifler's Mom (a gin, lime and cucumber with a 'bite' of absinthe) to Axel Foley (basically a Paloma rip-off) - most cocktails £7-9.50. Without being jaw-droppingly good, the approach is a fine example of modern cocktail craft in the capital - good ingredients, solid techniques, sense of fun: tick, tick, tick. Add in superb pizza from a wood-fired oven, relaxed and friendly service and Detroit may be done for, but Earlham Street has a new lease of life.