Joining the fray, but offering something pleasantly different, is basement bar Ruby’s. Just short of Beyond Retro on Stoke Newington Road, its slightly perturbing red doorway is easily missed sat beside Ruby House, a creative location for music videos and photo shoots.

Converted from a former Chinese takeaway kitchen, this relaxed place has taken that what-if-the-apocalypse-had-happened-in-1953 aesthetic to its beautiful zenith. The bar has been salvaged from a Mayfair pub, and the glazed brick walls hint at the room’s various previous occupants. The low ceiling, period light fittings and other thoughtful touches, such as various vintage beers mats, all add to the laidback intimate atmosphere.

The grub Erm, there isn’t any, thankfully. Food wouldn’t suit this place. There are, however, plenty of Turkish restaurants nearby.
Behind the bar Beautifully constructed cocktails, served in inventive vessels. There’s also a good range of beer, featuring some from east London’s Redchurch Brewery.

Bill please
Cocktails £8; wine £5 a glass, £15 a bottle; bottled beers £4.

Verdict Places with such a succinct offering can be accused of being prescriptively pretentious, but that’d be unfair accusation of Ruby’s. This is a place for people who want to talk and drink. It’s everything a basement bar should be. Oli Jones

76 Stoke Newington Rd, N16 7XB
Tube | Dalston Kingsland 

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