The decor is loud and colourful, without being obnoxious: umbrellas hang from the ceiling, vintage multi-coloured suitcases line the walls, and a true-to-life camper van has been converted into a secluded seating area. Music, art and culture feature prominently in the design and feel of the space.

A live DJ mixes upbeat music that creates a lively mood accented by the energetic young bartenders who visibly know and love their craft. Look out for their 2012 drinks menu in the new year that will feature an integration of music and drink.

THE GRUB: The bar doesn’t serve main meals, and bar snacks are the usual fare: dips, cheeses, houmous and veg.
Behind the bar The cocktails are carefully crafted masterpieces, grouped into the flavours and styles of various geographic regions. Unique influences from around the world – often Latin – pop up in drinks such as the ‘Gunpowder’ and ‘Mayan Magic’. There’s something for everyone, but if you just can’t decide, the bartenders are also more than willing to make you something of your own.

BILL PLEASE: Cocktails from £6.50; beers from £3.50; a glass of wine from £4. “Amigo Hour” every day from 5-8pm offers £4 cocktails.

VERDICT: Barrio North is the perfect off-centre bar that you can’t wait to share with your friends.


45 Essex Road, Islington, London N1 2SF 
Tube: Angel