The team behind 64th & Social in south London demonstrate a passion for cocktail innovation at their second bar
It took nearly eight months for the team at 64th & Social in south London to build and set up their second bar, ripping out fittings and walls, restructuring the building and even plumbing in the toilets. The result is SouthSider Cocktail Club, a new destination in Battersea for inventive well-crafted cocktails.
The bar has been created by Robin Webb and his brother Daniel, a chef, along with general manager Alex Clark. They have been running 64th & Social in nearby Clapham High Street since it opened six years ago, building up a reputation for cocktails, steaks and a party atmosphere. “64th & Social has always had a good following for its cocktails but, on a Friday and Saturday, it’s more about volumes of people who just want Mojitos and Vodka Red Bull,” Robin says. “So we decided to have a go at a cocktail bar with an emphasis on drinks and a more personal, less hectic vibe.”
The new bar is not hard to spot: its frontage is clad in planks of Siberian larchwood that resemble light pine but will turn silver over time. Inside, there are comfortable booths made of red button-studded faux leather and armchairs next to a restored working fireplace. This leads through to the bar counter, lined with stools plus more booths on the opposite wall. Behind the black granite-topped bar is an impressive selection of premium and specialist spirits and liqueurs, with traditional beer tankards hanging above the counter. It is lit by bare bulbs, with candles around the bar in mason jars imported from Canada.
Tucked away at the back is a semi-private area with banquette seating covered in glossy black vinyl-like upholstery and graffiti on the walls, which is ideal for private hire. At present, the graffiti is a London cityscape but artist Elliot Chapman will return every six months to create new designs.
The menu features drinks that have helped the bar team win competitions, such as Alex’s Butter Beer, which contributed to Team East London winning last year’s UK heat of the 42Below World Cup, and Grandma Sloane’s Tea Time Tipple – served in a bone china teacup with a vanilla macaroon – with which Robin won last year’s Sloane’s Gin Twisted Traditions cocktail competition.
Unusual vessels bring added theatre to serves such as the Dirty Man-Harry (pictured above) – made with Zacapa Centenario 23-year-old rum, Amaro Montenegro and Dr Adam Elmegirab’s Aphrodite Bitters, lightly smoked with applewood – served in a glass gun-shaped flask in an ice bucket along with a chilled coupette with an orange zest and atomised tobacco mist. Unusual flavours come together perfectly in the short Shrub & Tug, made with chorizo-infused Ilegal Joven mezcal, house-made pineapple shrub, lemon juice and The Bitter End Memphis Barbecue Bitters, served with a mini shish of chorizo and pineapple.
Interesting flavour and ingredient combinations can be seen throughout the menu, with cocktails mostly priced at £7.50. Popular drinks include the Blueberry Pancake Mule, made with granola-infused Cariel Vanilla Vodka, house-made blueberry vermouth, Wray & Nephew Overproof Rum, Dr Adam Elmegirab’s Teapot Bitters, lime juice and the bar’s own fiery cinnamon ginger beer, served with a garnish of redcurrants, mint, icing sugar and a brandy snap.
The list has been created by the team, which also includes Jimmy Drummond, most recently at Rick’s Bar in Edinburgh, and Daniel Cook, who has worked at top London bars such as The Arts Club in Mayfair. “We will change the cocktails regularly, coming up with new ideas and keeping it fresh,” Alex adds. Asahi and Samuel Adams beers are on tap while the bar has its own house-made alternative to “alcopops” made with acai juice, gooseberry, lemon zest, Ketel One vodka and chardonnay.
The bar opens 5pm Monday to Saturday until 1am on Fridays and Saturdays and till midnight the rest of the week. Later in the evening, customers have to be members to come in, but it is free and provides them with discounts and other benefits. Robin hopes that, in the future, he, Daniel and Alex can help other companies to develop new bars on a consultancy basis. “We only had a shoestring budget but if we had some of the budgets of a lot of these other companies, just imagine what we could pull off.”
Who did it
Bar fittings: KCM Catering Equipment
Furniture: Inside Out Contracts
Bar top: Granite UK
SouthSider Cocktail Club, 56 Battersea Rise, London SW11 1EG
Tel: 020 7223 4217