Tag Archives: cocktails

Callooh Callay bar, 65 Rivington Street, Shoreditch, EC2A 3AY, and the joy of cocktails

Fellow she-blogger Caroline, No and I bonded over our love of The Last Waltz and decided to meet up to discuss fashion, food and Dr John. It was my first platonic blogger date but the problem with two anonymous bloggers meeting is that it is very hard to find each other (hint – we both had the same camera. Losers). You can read Caroline’s review of the evening here.

The venue was Callooh Callay bar, a Shoreditch cocktail bar on my London wishlist and about which I’d heard great things. It’s on Rivington Street which is home to my favourite club Cargo (sadly unvisited in a while) and just a hop, skip and a jump from Favela Chic, Great Eastern Dining Rooms and Cantaloupe. So far, so trendy.

Mix tapes! Oh how I miss you…and a sneaky peak of the HPL, through the looking glass

Caroline and I got stuck into the comfy seats and the cocktail menu and the sushi (which was actually very good) and were well taken care of. The staff were lovely and knowledgeable about all things cocktail – they’ve won awards for inventing them (see the ale of two cities) and hold regular drinks events. My knowledge of hard liquor is sadly lacking, highlighted by my response to what type of vodka I prefered (er…smirnoff? grey goose?). Inside its a cute and quirky Alice-through-the-looking-glass-bar where you go through the lion witch wardrobe to another comfy lounge and where the toilets are lined with mix tapes – mix tapes! Cue nostalgic ranting about the art of the mix tape and admiration of some great old tunes being played – Morcheeba’s Trigger Hippy, Mary J Blige’s I’m Going Down.

Alejandro Sour with a sushi chaser

I’m typically a bottle-of-white-wine-with-the-girls kind of gal and to be honest, I’ve always had a love-hate relationship with cocktail bars. I hate the thought that I’m being ripped off (undoubtedly the Scot in me) but I love the taste and the kick you get. I love the fact that cocktails are for slow appreciation not glugging. I hate the pretension of some cocktails places but I love the sophistication of a beautiful looking drink in a nice glass – it feels special.  And whoever came up with putting olives in a martini should receive some sort of prize. I lived in Prague once and they have fantastic cocktail bars – cheap and delicious and fun. But why would you pay £9 for a cocktail – what is it about them thats so good?

Mai Tai

Vodka martini – perfect taste only in a nicer glass purlease?

Well for the sake of experiment, dear reader, we decided to try one, no two, no three, ok then last one four, cocktails – hic. Everything from a recommended  alejandro sour to a mai tai to my FAVOURITE cocktail ever, a vodka martini with a huge green olive and finally a peach prosecco. They were all uniformly delicious with a lovely kick, my favourite being the martini which  either means I’m really boring or really cool in the manner of James Bond. Yes they aren’t cheap but it got me thinking – if a bottle of average plonk is like a cup of tea then a good cocktail is like a good coffee – special and a bit sexy and you only need one (or, er, four) to get a lovely warm buzz. And Callooh Callay is undoubtedly the perfect place to try cocktails. If you don’t believe me, next week is London Cocktail Week – an open invitation to go try it for yourselves.

Caroline and I were guests of Callooh Callay bar. (Guests who wouldn’t leave. Oops.)

Calloh Callay on Urbanspoon

Things to do in Prague

I lived in Prague for 6 months in 2006 and absolutely loved it – I’m lucky to still have a few friends there to visit.  Here’s a few things to do on a weekend there:

To stay there cheaply, check out these appartments: http://www.apartment4rent.cz/ – Josefov (the old Jewish quarter which is now a sort of Bond Street area) or Mala Strana (by the castle) are lovely areas to stay.

– The most romantic restaurants in Prague, right by the Charles Bridge, are Kampa Park and Hergetova Cihelna both are fine dining overlooking the Vltava, and very romantic – not cheap though!

– For cocktails, try Cowboys which is just under the castle in Mala Strana, Bar and Books, Tretters or Bugsys: http://www.expats.cz/prague/directory/cocktail-bars/0/

– For authentic” Czech dining (or as authentic as you can get in Prague 1), I liked taking people to Kozicka on Kozi (beer cellar with great beers and simple Czech food) or U Zelehno Stromu (At the Green Tree – try the pork knuckle (see below)).

– For fun nights out, try La Bodeguita Del Medio on Kaprova for live salsa while you eat, and for drinking and dancing, I had a lot of fun at Bombay on Dlouha (open until about 5am), Aloha on Dusni , Lucerna off Wenceslas Square,  Duplex which is has a roof terrace overlooking Wenceslas Square, and the wonderful Misch Masch – get a cab for the latter, its a huge club with a house room and R&B room and definitely worth a night out!  Roxy and Radost are rather more upmarket.

Nice lunch/brunch places are Cafe Louvre (see below) in the New Town (where you can also play pool), Bohemia Bagel in Mala Strana or the Old Town, Barock on Parizska, or for something quite incredible (but not cheap) – try the Palffy Palac in Mala Strana where I had the most wonderful brunch of champagne, smoked salmon and quail’s eggs on their summer terrace – bliss.  

Things to see and do – Apart from checking out the Charles Bridge, the Castle, Wenceslas Square, the Jewish quarter cemetry and synagogues, and Old Town Square, go up to Letna Park to see a great view over the town (see photo below) .  If the crowds in Old Town Square are a little claustrophobic, go to the U Prince Hotel and get the lift right to the top floor – it has a lovely little roof top bar with great views over the square (see below). 

– Also check out the classical concerts and opera in Prague, great value and amazing standard.  See recent listings for what’s on.  Remember, if you’re going to the opera at the beautiful National Theatre, dress up – people will be very smart and you should be too.

– If you get too hot in Summer, try Prague’s man-made beach on the banks of the Vltava by Andel metro (Thailand it ain’t), do a boat trip or hire a pedalo (the place to hire them is by the National Museum) to mosey down the river. 

Museums: I loved the Kafka museum, which is on the Castle side of the Vltava river, which gave both an interesting insight into the Jewish population of Prague, which was pretty much destroyed during the Holocaust, and into Kafka’s life and work.  You could go over the Charles Bridge to Josefov to go to the Jewish Cemetry and synagogues of the old Jewish area afterwards.   The Mucha museum on Panska is also interesting – its pretty small but the video of his life is worth a look.