Elbowing for space between traditional cafes (very much spelt and pronounced without the elegant é) deep-fried chicken spots and dilapidated newsagencies, Nightjar's door stands as a beacon of sophistication in a world of ordinary experiences. For under the linoleum floors of those cafes and takeaways a heady jazz-age cocktail bar has been thriving for the last half decade.
Five years in London - a city whose thirst for the latest pop-up grows day by day - is no small feat for a bar. Yet Nightjar hasn't simply been serving drinks for that time, it has also consistently remained one of the city's best bars. A glance at industry-voted World's 50 Best Bars shows that a year after launching in 2010 landed a incredible 18th in the list and hasn’t fallen any lower than third in the entire world in the four years since.
With it's live music, fantastical drinks, escapism atmosphere and hospitable service, perhaps it's little wonder why Nightjar is continually topping the charts.
"NIghtjar at five years old feels like one of the bar industry's most successful bars," says Hamish Smith from World's 50 Best Bars. "Within a year of opening the glitzy Old Street jazz and cocktails venue shot to 18th position in The World's 50 Best Bars and hasn't looked back since, finishing no lower than 3rd in the last four years. Its rankings in The World's 50 Best Bars All-time Achievers list is testament to its remarkable achievements. Loved by the global bar trade and public alike, Nightjar will remain a classic of London's ever-moving bar scene for years to come."
On its fifth birthday we're celebrating the fun times had, music enjoyed and drinks consumed. Especially these ten, picked out by owners Edmund Weil and Rosie Stimpson, which continually feature on the menu, not just because they're great sellers, but because the team love them.
"Time is a funny old thing. After 5 years Rosie and I can barely remember what our lives were like before Nightjar. And yet it still often feels like yesterday when we opened our doors for the first time in November 2010. It has been a rollercoaster ride, with thankfully many more ups than downs, we can honestly say that there is no other industry we would rather work in. We’re enormously proud of Nightjar’s achievements, from our shock win of Best New Bar in the 2011 Class Awards (remember them?) to the astounding fact that we’ve spent 4 of our 5 years of existence as one of the World’s Top 3 Bars. More than anything though we are proud of the Nightjar Team, the core members of which have been almost unchanged since we opened," says Edmund.
NIGHTJAR HALL OF FAME COCKTAILS
Name of the Samurai
A Signature cocktail - Nikka whisky from the barrel, Umeshu, Akashi Tai sake, popcorn tea, lime, rice & mirin syrup, smoked sakura.
Beyond the Sea
A Signature cocktail - Gin Mare, oyster leaf infusion, Harvey's sherry blend, pink grapefruit, plankton air, ume & yuzu salt.
24 Volt Cobbler
A Signature cocktail - Beluga vodka, Mozart dry, Giffard berry liqueurs, electric bitters, balsamic jam, Nightjar wine mix, lime.
A Postwar cocktail - Tanqerary gin, apple & rhubarb, Kamm & Sons, lime, honey, Galangal beer, stout bitters.
A Postwar cocktail - Havana Club 7-year-old rum, fresh lime, bee pollen, fresh mint, green tea, Champagne.
Aged Piña Colada
A Postwar cocktail - Appleton VX rum, Wray & Nephew rum, fresh pineapple, fresh coconut water, bamboo charcoal salt, bitters.
Barrel Aged Zombie
A Prohibition cocktail - Bacardi 8-year-old rum, Santa Teresa rum, absinthe, Wray & Nephew rum, lime, maraschino, mamajuana, pineapple, tamarind.
A Prohibition cocktail - G'vine florasion gin, Nightjar bitters, aged quince eau de vie, lemon, egg white, Nightjar grenadine.
A Pre-Prohibition cocktail - Woodford Reserve bourbon, roasted pecan & coffee maple syrup, Fernet Branca, smoked candy floss.
Waldorf Gloom Lifter
A Pre-Prohibition cocktail - Auchentoshan 3-Wood Scotch, beeswax, Courvoisier VSOP Cognac, lemon, grenadine, tabacco sugar, constititional bitters.
P.S The day after Nightjar turns five its sister bar Oriole is launching. Needless to say it's a good time to be a Londoner.