When Eastlondonlines heard that the second floor of the Ten Bells pub in Spitalfields has been revamped and is now serving New-York style shorty cocktails we hurried along to place our orders.
The owners of the 18th century pub in Commercial Street have transformed the restaurant into a lounge bar and the new cocktail menu is the main attraction.
Bradley Lomas, co-founder of the enterprise told us he borrowed the name ‘shorty’ from the half-sized cocktails served in New York. “We didn’t want to compete with other bars in the area but wanted to try something different so our drinks have lots of different bold and strong flavours.”
The Ten Bells is famous for its association with two victims of Jack the Ripper: Annie Chapman is believed to have drunk at the pub shortly before she was murdered, while another victim, Mary Kelly, would reportedly pick up clients as a prostitute outside the historic hostelry.
It is still decorated with original Victorian tiling and though the ground floor manages to retain the rowdy atmosphere of an old public house, the lounge bar manages to be much quieter. Head bartender Jerome Slesinski has been busy dishing out exotic combinations of ingredients, such as organic bee pollen, palm sugar and black cardamom since the shorty cocktails were introduced.
One of their bestsellers so far has been a mix of rum, fresh pandan, ginger, palm sugar and mandarin bitters. The strong concoction is surprisingly smooth and will pique your interest to try others.
Describing the cocktails, Lomas told us: “The drinks have a real talkability and are designed to be savoured. They are also well priced so that people can have more and taste more. No one needs to cling on to the same glass for 20 minutes or more when they can try four different ones for about £25.”
The shorty menu will change every couple of months and the bar will continue to serve other regular drinks such as beers, wines and nibbles.
Despite the change, the lounge bar has inherited enough of the furniture and artefacts of the original restaurant that it remains a vintage haven from the busy roads outside, appealing to the City worker and the local artists.
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