So when term finished recently and my friend who has just finished training as a teacher was about to start her 6 week holiday (bitch) we thought cocktails were in order. Now if someone wants to educate me to where is good for cocktails in town then I'd be delighted (please don't say The Living Room/Bar Luga/Browns) but I rather like Popolo and I very much like Alvinos, just next door but more on them later.
Popolo has this sort of 1960s type Italian decor, menu on a pinboard, lots of red and black and some really uncomfortable, plastic bar stools. It's not particularly 'cool', it's more middle aged affluent drinkers looking to avoid anywhere serving cheap trebles and boring suits having afterwork drinks.
The cocktail menu is adequate but the bartenders are more than capable of serving you something 'fun' if you ask nicely. We had some sort of gin fizz and something with sloe gin, both nice enough although one was a little sickly and more than a bit sticky. They were around £6 so you know, fine.
Don't take this as fact, but i'm pretty sure the food menu must have changed recently. Either way it came as a pleasant surprise, they seemed to have adopted the idea of small plates, pizzette, and a couple of Italian classics. I shunned all there attempts at authenticity and opted for the burger (£7.95). The lovely Nicola went for Fritto Misto (£9.50) served with very good chunky chips.
The burger was you know, alright - thick, a good amount of cheese and bacon, the bun was a bit stale but nothing horrific. It was neither praise worthy or chronically awful. I'd love to say it was succulent and juicy, made with freshly ground steak and a lovely pink middle but it was just dry mince.
A lovely Tom Collins on the balcony at Alvinos helped to wash it down afterwards though. I love this place, even though they sometimes play god awful music. It's lively, does nice drinks and has one of the few good outside areas in the city. Whilst Popolo tries to appeal to the city's suits, Alvinos seems content being a little rougher around the edges and has a much better atmosphere for it. Set over 3 floors, it's even got a table football. And the drinks are cheaper.
Now, if you know better, let me know where I should be necking my fortnightly cocktails.
You'll find both Alvinos and Popolo on Pilgrim Street, NE1 6SG.