If you find yourself in Soho looking for this easygoing, fun and reliable stalwart of the cocktail world, you’re in luck.
Crowded: yes; boring: no. Barrio Central’s location quite a way down Poland Street hasn’t put people off finding this Mexican gem. Conveniently down the road from the ultimate stomach-lining dinner spot, Bodean’s, Barrio’s carnival interior and private areas (including indoor garden and love shack) are the perfect home to the daily Amigo Hour. On weekdays until 8pm, and 7pm on Fridays and Saturdays, you can get a mojito, or the mojito’s less tasty and more dangerous cousin, the caipirinha, for £4.50.
If you can snag a Friends of Barrio card (as far as I’m aware, acquired through sweet talking the bar staff), you’ll get queue jump for yourself and four friends, here and at Barrio East (Shoreditch) and Barrio North (Angel). Excelente.
For the rum-based cocktail fan, 1920s Havana is where you would have wanted to be. A small bar, El Floridita, in the heart of the city is credited with the invention of the daiquiri, while nearby La Bodeguita is widely considered the original home of the mojito.
Hemingway frequented both during his time in Cuba, and Soho wants a piece of the action. Albeit in a much more swish setting with dark interiors and £11 cocktails, rather than the original’s rustic Cuban mayhem and mariachi band in the corner. But hey, you get some good rum and, if you go on the right night, some live entertainment.
You won’t find any rum here, and yet there are six variations of mojito on the menu. How, you ask? The Azulito Bar in the basement of the Soho branch of Wahaca houses 80 agave tequilas which can either be sipped straight or mixed up into a cocktail of your choice.
For something sweet, try the hibiscus edition of our favourite classic, or the tamarind number for a bit of something sour.
Cocktails, live music and pizzas larger than your head. What else would you need of an evening? B-Soho, a Neapolitan pizzeria and cocktail bar is (much like Neapolitans), chilled out and fun with a touch of crazy. Table football is on offer for those who get bored of mere small talk, and local music talent is showcased from Thursdays to Saturdays.
Try their ‘Shaken & Stirred’ happy hour, where groups can create their own bespoke package of wines, beers and cocktails while keeping prices happily low.
Don’t be perturbed by the piece of advice I’m about to give you: don’t get a mojito here. It’s not on the menu, and with good reason – there are many more exciting things on offer.
As the name suggests, Lab Bar is experimental on the cocktail front. Concoctions range from twists on childhood sweets (Parma Violet or Smarties in martini form anyone?) to the out-there blends (the Red Hot Chili Pepper for example). If you’re after that familiar mint/lime freshness though, you won’t be disappointed by the Colraine Cooler – Zubrowka Bison Grass vodka, apple and lime juices mixed with vanilla sugar, fresh mint and a crown of Goldschlager. I could drink this one every day. Just don’t tell the mojito. It might get jealous.
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