I have been wanting to visit Graphic for quite a while. It is claimed that Graphic has one of the most extensive collections of gin in the UK and is a veritable Mecca for the gin-drinkers of London.
However, I don’t live in London and my trips there are usually hectic and short-lived but this week, I found myself in London of an evening, only two tube-stops away from Graphic and a hotel room booked for the night. The stars were aligned and I was damn-well going.
I kicked off the evening with a few G&Ts with some work colleagues. While their company was great, I could feel the pull of Graphic like some sort of hard-wired migration instinct; so I bade them farewell and headed north.
Like most London pubs in summer, there were more people outside on the pavement than inside. This turned out be be a bit of a blessing as I could fully marvel with uninterrupted view at the number of gins behind that bar. I had imagined maybe as many as 40, perhaps 50, gins; nothing prepared me for the 90-odd bottles of gin that Graphic had on display. It was intimidating, overwhelming and amazing in equal measure. I think “awestruck” is probably a fitting adjective.
The music, provided by a DJ, while driving, was not so intrusive that you couldn’t hold a conversation or make yourself heard at the bar. The clientèle was really quite mixed, and the atmosphere was pleasantly relaxed. The food was really good for “bar food” as well; the burger I had was cooked medium-rare (on request) and was rather very tasty.
Over the course of the evening, I had a few cocktails (although not as many as I wanted) over the course of the evening and all of them were pretty awesome. I will cover these individually and tag the posts under “Recipes”, but they were…
Needless to say, they were all very good.
I think the thing that really made it for me was the bar staff. They were obviously very practised and knew their stuff and I would have loved to spend more time plumbing that knowledge, but they had a fairly constant stream of customers and never really looked that interruptible.
If you like you gin, either neat, as part of a classic cocktail, or part of a slightly more outlandish drink, Graphic is the place to go. Due to the huge variety of gin behind that bar, there is little chance of ever getting bored with the place, for to do so, would mean you were bored with gin. Maybe as much as 70% of the gins behind that bar are unknown to my palette – to try each one neat and in a G&T would be a marathon unto itself, let alone sampling the rich depth of cocktails on offer.
Visiting Graphic should be on the list of things to achieve in life for any gin drinker.
Update (21/07/2011): I have been informed that there were 122 different gins behind the bar at Graphic, at the last count.