The Worship Street Whistling Shop is not just a bar. It’s an institution passionate about the history and the art of producing spirits.
After an unusually sunny week, Friday night arrives looking like a widow; dressed completely in black, cold and wet with tears from the skies. This is classic London, testing you, calling you out for a duel. It wants to know what you are made of, by posing one of its classic Catch-22s. Scenario number one calls for a long night of hibernation on the couch, a comfy onesie and the sound of a whistling kettle as a soundtrack. Scenario two invites you to step outside your comfort zone, to dig deep and find the Londoner inside you; the type of person does not compromise to the whimsies of the weather, the resilient citizen that will have his Friday-night drink no matter what.
And there I was, from the whistling sound of the kettle in my kitchen, standing outside the Worship Street Whistling Shop, in the backstreets of Old Street Station, showing up at the duel. Leaving the storm behind me I descended in a faintly lit space with a trancelike feel to it. Leather couches, exposed brick walls, old cupboards and vintage furniture flooded the room and attained a fairy-tale sense under the delicate lighting of the street lamp located in the centre of the room. It felt like a combination of a late afternoon walk in the streets of Paris with a drink at Harry’s Bar, Venice, Italy. The storm was now a thought of the past, displaced by the warmth of the interiors. After absorbing all that the bar had to throw at me, it was time for a drink.
The menu was split in four main categories, according to the source of the drink’s main ingredient: grape, hop, grain and barrel. After a quick scan I decided on the ‘Bread of Heaven’. When it comes to drink titles imagination runs wild in London, but the same can’t be said about precision. Names do not often represent what comes in the glass, and naturally I wasn’t expecting nothing related to heaven or bread. But here is why The Whistling Shop stands out from the crowd. The combination of Bols Genever, wheat beer, banana & clove vinegar, citrus, egg white, toasted poppy and sesame created an inspired drink the smelled and tasted like a freshly baked loaf of bread and was the closest to heaven I could get on a rainy Friday night.
The Worship Street Whistling Shop is not just a bar. It’s an institution passionate about the history and the art of producing spirits. The patrons have the opportunity to browse a library of vintage gins, some of which date back 100’s of years old, as well as the in-house produced gin. With a simple booking, customers can step inside a private room and taste different gin based cocktails, wax sealed in glass bottles, labelled and priced according to their ingredients. The team behind the Whistling Shop take the simple idea of having a late night drink to another level, transforming a habit to an experience.
Two more drinks and an hour-long of continuous laughter later, I found my self outside the bar, on my way home. The rain had stopped but I couldn’t see a rainbow. All I could see was spirited, proud Londoners emerging from their night out, rushing to the bus stop and smiling with their victory. London called us out in a duel and we delivered. We won.
63 Worship Street
020 7247 0015