First came the M&S Foodhall and now? Well, now Dalston’s only gone and got itself a highly swanky cocktail bar with a head bartender who used to work at Mayfair’s celeb tiki bar Mahiki – a place notoriously favoured by royalty both literal (Princes William and Harry) and pop (Lady of Gaga, Rihanna and Beyoncé).
Called The Duchess of Dalston – which we always assumed was Paloma Faith, but hey – the bar’s menu focuses on locally sourced ingredients, with homegrown herbs plucked from their very own garden rooftop. Cocktails are named in tribute to the local area, with things like the Ridley Me This, a fermented pineapple tepache drink made with fruit from the nearby Ridley Road Market.
The Kingsland Road joint, which is open now, was set up by Richard Wynne, founder of Shoreditch’s equally plush Alice In Wonderland themed-Callooh Callay cocktail den. He says: ‘In creating The Duchess of Dalston, we’ve embraced the resources and the history of the Dalston area itself, whilst also bringing our own touch of personality and experience into the drinks menu. The result is a neighbourhood cocktail bar full of culture that perfectly complements the surrounding area and provides a welcome and friendly atmosphere where everyone is welcome.’
Heading up the bar is Nazareth Rodriguez, who’s worked at both Callooh Callay and Mahiki, so he knows a thing or five about cocktails. There’ll be 12 different ones on offer at any one time, and they’ll all be £12. Currently, the Aunty’s Special is calling us siren-like from E8, a caramel-y boozy cold brew with Vietnamese coffee and condensed milk. Move over Cornflakes, there’s a new brekkie in town.
The Duchess of Dalston will be serving brunch every weekend from 10am to 3pm, with drag and jazz acts to keep things lively.
The Duchess of Dalston, 392 Kingsland Rd, E8 4AA.
These are London’s 50 best cocktail bars.
Our essential guide to Dalston.