Pop-up superstar: Little Nan’s Cocktail Den review

LittleNan

Picture by Caitlin Burns

Little Nan’s Cocktail Den is an unexpected gem in East London. Located in a Shoreditch basement, this pop-up mixologist is hidden from the humming of Curtain Road, nestled under a soon-to-be smokehouse.

But if you fail to notice the oversized garden gnome or the old television turned into a sign, you might walk past this cosy setting mistaking it for a grandmother’s living room.

Serving cocktails in teapots, popcorn and unlimited pick ‘n’ mix, this unusual pop-up is like visiting a fantasy version of your grandmother’s living room, only on steroids.

When owner Tristan Scutt originally began opening pop-ups, in Deptford and New Cross last year, he used his grandmother’s furniture and teapot collection to decorate the sites and notes her as the inspiration for Little Nan’s Cocktail Den. “My nan loved tea and cocktails,” he said.

From custom antique sofas to random stuffed animals, the underground bar is awash with twee fittings. There are even wall hangings, pictures of the Queen mother and memorial tapestries for Princess Diana.

Scutt describes the small space, which can fit about 31 people, as “Little Nan’s wonderland.” He describes the décor as “kitsch,” noting the shelves lined with dozens of new and antique teacups and “gifts” from visitors that include dolls, clown heads and mix-matched furniture.

Scutt said that the signature cocktails are served in teapots from his Nan’s own collection, which has now grown to over 400 fun and classic teapots.  Mixing and matching a range of teacups and teapots is all part of the fun at Little Nan’s.

Two hours of unlimited cocktails (in teapots, of course), pick ‘n’ mix and popcorn, costs just £35 per group. And if it is your birthday, you can request a personalised cocktail, which is how drinks like the Empress Claire Turner came about on the menu.

Each teapot equals four servings, with each one handmade in a punch-style so groups can share and try a variety of cocktails. Most notable during my visit was the Lady Bet Lynch, a dry gin cocktail, mixed with lime, elderflower and Prosecco.

The pop-up will remain in Shoreditch until February, but Scutt expects Little Nan’s to be around for a long time. And while he dreams of one day having a permanent Little Nan’s pitch, Scutt said pop-ups currently work for him.

“We’ve had five pop-ups so far and a lot of people have followed along the way. For now [pop-ups] just kind of seems right,” Scutt said.

Little Nan’s Cocktail Den is open Tuesday to Saturday from 5pm to 1am at 26 Curtain Road in Shoreditch. For more information see www.littlenans.co.uk

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