Callooh Callay duo plan new ‘Social Club’ cocktail bars

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Two former bartenders from Callooh Callay in London are to open a new cocktail bar, with plans for more around the UK.

Simon Thompson and Jake O’Brien Murphy will unveil their first venture, Horatio Street Social Club, in the basement of The Nelson’s Head in Horatio Street, near Columbia Road, in east London.

They plan to bring a “unique blend of warm, relaxed hospitality and innovative cocktails to provide a new drinking den for cocktail lovers and locals”.

With a relaxed and informal atmosphere, it will be an intimate space where guests can perch on stools at the bar or sit at one of the low-slung tables, with low lighting, artwork on the walls and a playlist of eclectic, upbeat tunes.

Open from mid-February, HSSC will be the first of their bars under the “Social Club” name, with plans to start opening further venues throughout the UK later this year.

The pair, who previously worked together at world-class bar Callooh Callay in Shoreditch, have already revealed some of the cocktails that will be on their menu, each priced at £9.

Garfield’s Funeral is a celebration of the Old Fashioned, taking its name from the classic cocktail’s first recorded mention in coverage of the party at President Garfield’s funeral in 1881. It combines Lot 40 Rye Whisky from Canada, angel share syrup and black trumpet mushroom tincture. Angel share syrup is inspired by the evaporation of alcohol during whisky maturation and has been designed to be reminiscent of the dark, woody, musty smell of a barrel house, providing a strong backbone to the drink. The black trumpet mushroom tincture adds a note of umami.

Naïve Melody is inspired by the Bicicletta, an Italian café cocktail which takes its name from the idea that, after one of them, it would still be safe to cycle home. Made with Campari, white wine and kola nut cordial, the HSSC take on it is the perfect substitute for a Negroni or spritz, exploring the flavours of both Coca-Cola and the Americano serve.

Dirty Faces is a modern take on a forgotten classic, Angel Face, created by Harry Craddock for the Savoy Cocktail Book in 1930. Combining beeswax, calvados, gin, apricot and verjuice, it is a deeply honeyed drink with stone fruit complexity – a perfect alternative to a Martini or Manhattan.

Kill the Cook brings together tequila, red pepper, urfa chilli, “red iron” solution and lime, using traditional Mexican cooking methods alongside a look at the terroir of Mexican agave. The red iron solution is a nod to the mineralogy of Mexican red sand, while the red pepper and urfa unite to create a sweet, smoky vegetal drink that is reminiscent of a Tommy’s Margarita.

Alongside these will be a list of classic cocktails, beer and a wine list by War on Terroir.

Originally from Newcastle upon Tyne, Simon’s background in hospitality dates back to when he worked at his grandfather’s fish and chip shop at the age of 14. He has been general manager at Callooh Callay since October 2014, during which time it won best international high-volume bar in Tales of the Cocktail’s Spirited Awards and regained its place in the list of the World’s 50 Best Bars. Previously, Simon was a general manager for Be At One bars.

Jake O’Brien Murphy (pictured right) has worked in hospitality since his early teens, starting in his local pub The Quiet Man in his home town of Huyton in Merseyside and moving to the Childwall Fiveways pub in Liverpool while at university. He worked at Salt Dog Slims and 81 Ltd in Liverpool, rising from bar back to head bartender during this four years there. He was named Young Bartender of the Year by Jameson and won the UK Havana Club Grand Prix, competing in the global final in Cuba, before heading south to join Callooh Callay.

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