I position myself under quite a smug looking Stevie Wonder and a leery, if you can imagine it, Susan Boyle. Its cosy; on a busy Friday or Saturday, I would bump that up to intimate. Not in a bad way though, the place has a certain atmosphere about it.
They serve monkey nuts by the pint load. Each table has a glass filled with them. I settle in. The beats are noughties chart. Mis-Teeq, Scandalous gives way to Kayne and Jay Z, Paris.
A waiter arrives with a seasonal cocktail menu. The service is personable and cheery without being irritating. Aside to what’s on the list, I’m told they can make me pretty much any cocktail I want. I’m not surprised, over 400 bottles of different drinks adorn the wall behind the bar.
The menu comes in booklet form, pretty novel. I peruse; the cocktail fiend in me wants all of them. I eventually settle on Bag o’ Chips: ban poitin, peach & tempranillo shrub, roast potato’ seasoning syrup.
I wait. No word of a lie, my mouth dropped when he brought the cocktail over. A glass is filled with newspaper, underneath a scattering of salt and vinegar chip sticks lurks my cocktail. I munch furiously. Keen to finish them all before I have the first sip, and when I do – glorious. Strong, mind you, but glorious.
If the Bag o’ Chips isn’t your ideal ‘takeaway,’ plenty of others are available. If canned food is more your thing, the Instaspam is a favourite, while for golf fans, or the religious, Handy Nightcap and Holier than Thou are available too. Either way, you’re bound to find something you like.
The CTC is genuinely doing something different and for that I salute them. It’s one of the only places I’ve been that other customers are not even discreet about eyeing up your drinks. Take you friends, your enemies, you loved ones for a good old bag ‘o chips. They won’t regret it.
The Cocktail Trading Company, 68 Bethnal Green Road, E1 6GQ