I’ve walked the stretch of King’s Cross Road a fair few times, having worked in both King’s Cross and Farringdon once or twice. I’d like to say I noticed the old pub on the corner but Thai Aubergine next door is what always stuck in my mind.
My friend however remembered it being a total dive and wondering how much longer it had in this world before it was gentrified. Well, that time has come and it has opened up as The Racketeer. It’s a pub-cum-cocktail bar, rather like the Sun Tavern in Bethnal Green, and a combination I’m particularly fond of. It has all the comfort and casualness of a pub, plus a little classiness.
LDN Life was invited along to the press launch where we sampled a good representation of the cocktails they had on offer. First up, the heady Hanky Panky – gin, antica, and bitters. This was strong and refreshing. Then I tried the Trinidad Swizzle which was summery and fruity but not my personal favourite as, being a drink with passion fruit, it had all the pips, of which I’m not a fan.
My friend managed to almost invent his own drink when he ordered the Penicillin in a Storm – this is a ‘float’ which is poured out in layers and then stirred by the barman. But he liked the layers so much he requested his to come as is.
Then later, he stirred it himself and the whole thing froze into something akin to a snow cone that had to be eaten with a spoon! It was actually delicious this way and if you see this version on the menu you’ll know who to thank!
I tried it the ‘proper’ way – the drinkable way – and it was great like that too. Very fiery with ginger and not too smoky.
The last one to try was the Pineapple Daiquiri which was similar in potency to the Hanky Panky, and very tasty.
They serve cheese from Androuet and charcuterie of which I was supposed to have a try but we were so comfortable at the bar I didn’t get around to it! I am already well familiar with Androuet though and can attest to the quality of the cheese at least.
There’s a whole lot of charm to this place – I can imagine myself getting quite comfortable here for an evening. Downstairs another side to its character comes out as the basement has a slightly sinister feel, the décor having a ‘scary cellar’ kind of feel to it, giving any goings-on down here an unexpected edge. I’d love to host a party there!