Marcus and I were shown to our seat by a friendly waitress who soon bought us menus, a little bowl of salted popcorn and small glasses of water infused with cucumber, melon and lemongrass. We then began the task of working our way through the menu- there was an unbelievable amount of choice! The cocktails are split into 'pre-prohibition,' 'prohibition,' 'post-war,' and 'Nightjar signatures' and so in the end, we decided to take it era by era, starting from pre-prohibition. I was incredibly excited- I'd heard that the cocktails here not only tasted amazing but also were presented in the most imaginative ways and so I couldn't wait to see what I'd ordered!
My first drink was a pre-prohibition 'Baltimore Eggnog' and it was delicious! It came beautifully served with a little finger pastry on top and tiny blobs of cream. Marcus ordered a 'Amaro Fizz' which was made with buffalo milk! We happily sipped away at our (and each other's!) drinks, chatting and soaking in our surroundings. There was an excitable air to the bar as everyone was checking out each others drinks as they arrived, admiring their garnishes and asking strangers what it was exactly they'd ordered.
Some time later, we moved on to our second drink. Marcus' was a prohibition 'Marmalade No.2' (served to look like a marmalade pot, complete with candied fruit) where as (after consulting our waitress) I'd skipped ahead to the jollier looking post-war cocktails. My drink was truly a surprise when it arrived. It was called the 'Jungle Bird' and came encased in a giant iced metal chicken! It was also the most interestingly flavoured of the night, probably down to it containing butternut squash and a curry leaf infusion! It had an interestingly sweet vegetably flavour, sweetened slightly by the mint which garnished it.
After realising we'd been sitting at our tables for nearly two hours, we asked the waitress if it would be possible to stay for longer. (The tables are reserved for two-hour periods). We were happily obliged and moved to a table closer to the bar. There, we ordered perhaps the most decorative of our cocktails that night, our Nightjar signatures.
After much debate with our waitress, I ordered a 'Beyond the Sea' which interestingly claimed to contain 'oyster leaf infusion' and 'sea air'. When it arrived, I was thrilled to see it had arrived in a foaming sea shell, on top of a little japanese style box. It tastes slightly bitter (you could imagine it going perfectly with sushi) and trying to drink it was definitely an experience! Marcus ordered a 'Cold Buttered Rum' which came complete with a small funnel of warm coconut oil which slowly infused down into the drink. It was delicious!
Finally, some three hours later, we had finished our drinks and got ready to leave. As we exited, the first notes from that night's live jazz band started to fill the air. It felt as if we'd truly just stepped out of the 1920s.
I enjoyed everything about Nightjar. The atmosphere was perfect, the drinks miniature works of art and the staff friendly, accommodating and well informed. Despite the initial two hour time limit on our table, I didn't feel at all rushed, yet was pleased to find that the staff did their best to fit us in when our time was up. I enjoyed my visit immensely and it was everything I had hoped it would be.
Just a small word of warning however: book in advanced! I booked three weeks previously in order to secure my table on a Saturday night!