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REVIEW: Bourne & Hollingsworth Buildings, Clerkenwell

bh buildings clerkenwell

White walls and plant fronds, clean lines and attractive barmen – Bourne & Hollingsworth Buildings in historic Clerkenwell had all the right ingredients from the get-go. We arrived on a wet and windy Thursday just shy of London Cocktail Week, and the staff’s passion for mixing a stiff drink was an immediate comfort.

bourne and hollingsworth buildings

A neat but extensive menu of tempting libations was gently pushed under our noses, staff genuinely interested in influencing your order. Ten minutes later we’d sniffed tinctures, tried liqueurs squeezed onto the backs of our hands and nodded enchantedly as specially-chosen concoctions appeared in front of us tailored to our every whim. It felt like the barman had all the time in the world for our experience (and for others sat nearby not visiting for review purposes). So far, so perfect.

bar food at bourne and hollingsworth

The decor is understated yet inviting – think inside/outside, Jumanji-esque grandeur covered in creepers. A warm log fire burns in the corner but bright flowers line the conservatory – happily incongruous, it’s super cosy. Soft, mismatched furniture beckons old friends to sink down with a cocktail while sturdier tables and chairs dotted about facilitiate proper dinner dates.

bourne and hollingsworth buildings london

Speaking of dinner, we can’t comment on the main menu as this trip was about cocktails and bar food – though having greedily sampled plenty of both, we feel qualified to pass judgement.

Pleasantly retro cocktails hark back to yesteryear (minus the sickly-Shoreditch ‘vintarrrrge’  vibes), our favourite being the Hollingsworth Fizz – a dainty blend of thyme-infused peach liquor shaken with Rathbone New London Dry Gin & lemon, topped with soda.

cocktail bourne and hollingsworth london

Naturally, this arrived alongside a ham and cheese toastie – the daintiest, most delicious incarnation of the uni snack staple you can imagine. So delicous, we were almost tempted to order a second, luckily restraining ourselves before plates of Coronation chicken, spicy BBQ chicken wings and crispy bacon and potato maki covered the bar.

We wish every Thursday night was like this one – even visiting the bathroom was a pleasure (look out for the old bronze bathtub full of fluffy white flannels)…

Address: Bourne & Hollingsworth Buildings, 42 Northampton Road, Clerkenwell, EC1R 0HU


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