Photography by diffordsguide.com
Words by Simon Difford on 12-Dec-2015
157 Commercial Street, (btwn Folgate & Fleur De Lis Sts), London, E1 6BJ, United Kingdom
Tel: +44 207 247 7392
Website: View bar's website
Hours: Bar: Mon-Thu 5:30pm-11pm, Fri 5:30pm-midnight, Sat noon-midnight, Sun noon-11pm
Door: Make reservation
Style: Restaurant bar
Recommended for: Cocktails, Food
Price guide: High-end
Food: Full menu
This is the original Hawksmoor cocktail bar and steakhouse, which has recently spawned larger, grander spin-offs across town. The group takes its name from the celebrated 18th century architect, Nicholas Hawksmoor, who designed the magnificent Christ Church, Spitalfields, just down the road on Commercial Street.
There are two bars - a small one in the restaurant with a handful of seats, and the basement bar below. Relaxed, confident and super-friendly staff create complex, balanced and delightfully simple drinks.
A former strip club that used to occupy the basement has been turned into a dedicated bar, boasting 60 seats - a mixture of bar stools, tables and booths in alcoves set under the pavement above. Decked out in reclamation yard chic, it boasts former lift panels as wall finishes and antique mirrors, tables from old chemistry labs, a somewhat lurid colour scheme of turquoise blue ceramic tiles and a Hammerlite blue gloss paint ceiling. A two-station bar in the corner with a shiny copper-coloured metal bar-top serves a ten-strong list of cocktails - five such as Shaky Pete's Ginger Brew are permanently on the list and five are Desert Island Drinks, chosen by Hawksmoor staff (from across the three sites) every month.
As for bar snacks, don't expect what they serve upstairs - instead it's more burger rather than steak.