141-143 Shoreditch High Street, Shoreditch, London, E1 6JE , United Kingdom
Tel: +44 (0) 207 749 3940
Website: View bar's website
Hours: Mon-Fri 3pm-2am, Sat-Sun 11am-2am
Door: Open door
Style: Cocktail bar
Recommended for: Fun/atmosphere
Price guide: Middling
Food: Plates & dishes
Images By: diffordsguide.com
Barrio's new venue is the third in an expanding chain that already counts Islington and Soho sites in its portfolio. Its new Shoreditch High Street venue has taken over the space previously occupied by Avalon, bringing its favella vibe straight into Hipsterville (complete with signature indoor caravan). The venue follows the same format as its siblings - large open bar, dance floor, 'uptown' lounge, 'timber yard' booths and other quirks - though this one is far larger than its siblings and on one floor.
The drinks menu focuses on imaginatively house-pimped classics, covering all spirit bases but focused on rum, tequila and cachaca, each with a suggested musical accompaniment. Twists include the Ginger Colada, a house Zombie with a proprietary mix of herbs and spices, and the Malibu Stacey - the latter articulating a style of having fun, accessible drinks names with serious ingredients lists (two types of rum in this one). There's no real flamboyance in the serves, and the emphasis is on longer, fruity serves than short punchy drinks - serves are tasty even if cocktails could be better balanced. The food is all street fare: think lots of tacos, small plates and snacks - though we focused on drinks on our visit.
Like the other Barrio sites, this Eastern cousin starts to feel like a South American street party as the evening ticks on, and that's the real appeal of the chain. The bar does get chaotic and service can get a little slow, but the atmosphere's buzzy and we think it's well worth a visit for a fun night out. There's only so many serious cocktail bars you can take, right?