A taste of East London’s Dalston at Ruby’s Cocktail Bar

Last night I visited Ruby’s cocktail bar, rated “Best London Cocktail Bar Winner 2013” by Grazia Magazine and “Our fave East London hideaway” by Vogue and boy did they deserve that award.

The big block cinema style lettering at the front of the building gives it an inviting feeling whilst creating a sense of the unknown. The owner Tom, has worked in his family business for many years sourcing great spaces which have hosted shows such as dragon’s den and many photo shoots and music videos.

Ruby’s cocktail bar sign

As we enter the narrow staircase comforting tunes greeted us and the sweet smell of various cocktail ingredients. The barman is very welcoming and enthusiastic and offers us the list of cocktails but assures us he will make anything we ask for. He asks us what our favourite cocktails and tastes are and recommends accordingly.

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First we go for the Rhubarb sour and a Dark and Stormy, both are fresh and strong with a great fusion of flavours that get your tongue tingling. We can’t resist having another and this time we go for a Hawaiian Daiquiri and a Pimmzoni, finally a Cook’s Crush and an English Garden. I’ll let you decide which one is your favourite but mine had to be the English Garden, it tasted almost like posh Haribo with rhubarb, apples and loads of other flavours I couldn’t put my finger on.

The barman says that what he enjoys most about making the cocktails is not serving them with loads of sugar and overpowering flavours, but to use combinations of interesting flavours that keep you guessing as to what it is.

There is no unnecessary shaking and fiddling about, which means we got our cocktail quite quickly but it’s made with precision and care. With one of the cocktails a fancy old fashioned perfume spray was used to add a mist of flavour, which was a nice touch.

Ruby’s cocktail bar interior

The interior is stripped back and very in line with the local Dalston hipster feel, but not stark; its made warm by the once loved lampshades and old church chairs.  The actual bar is stocked with what looks like over 100 bottles of varying medicines; this guy knows how to mix. We get onto the subject of tequila; it’s his favourite drink, not mine. He proves his love for it by offering me a free shot of his best tequila, it was actually rather nice!

One thing about this place is that it’s a real conversation starter, you’ll find yourself talking about the flavours and smells and every taste is a surprise.

The staff are friendly and chatty but also know when to leave you in peace. The arrangement of the room means that you can interact with other tables or you can cosy up in a corner on a romantic date. Well worth a visit.

Review by Elizabeth Danon

Ruby’s is located at 76 Stoke Newington Road, N16 7XB. Visit them online at http://rubysdalston.com/