Wednesday, 15 August 2012

In Search of Cocktails: Popolo & Alvinos

As much as I might go on about liking pints, and ale and craft beer, the way to my heart is a cocktail. God I just love em, especially gin cocktails. The other half being 'a proper punk' doesn't like cocktails - he is what I like to call, a fool.

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 Fritto Misto was very good, a light crisp batter and a selection of different sea food. It was *supposed* to be served with a lemon mayonnaise but we had to make do with a slice of lemon.

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.


  1. I saw on twitter you're looking for somewhere to live, have you ever thought about being a guardian? It's a pretty random scheme, but dirt cheap and means you can still have your own space. Basically the company takes over unused buildings and gets tenants in dirt cheap cos better to have someone in than not at all. I've a friend doing it on London, and considered it myself once another friend of a friend (who works for this company - full discloser!) mentioned it. Not a swish flat for yourself, but a way in which you can the boy can live cheaply and without going back into shared houses? Right random, but thought I'd share just incase you're interested. Sorry to comment on blog, but couldn't explain in 140 characters! Certainly would be a story to tell the grandkids!

  2. Feel free to delete this comment form the blog, as entirely un-related....

    As for related comments...

    Cocktails-wise I do enjoy a cheapy one in Mr Lynchs (benefits of still having a student card) and for my Mr's birthday treat last year we got pretty smashed on delicious Mojitos at Pitcher and Piano - right expensive, but also had a pretty view of the river.

    1. Thanks for the comments and the suggestions, i'll definitely look into it! I've got a friend who does a similar thing in an old factory in London and he certainly seems to enjoy it.

      And cocktails, I also used to enjoy the cheeky student discount at Mr Lynchs! My other half is still a student so I definitely think i'll be getting him to take me at some point soon!

  3. And there are other companies, just google property guardians
    Hope lifes concerns work out, and in a selfish way that you continue to blog - really enjoy your work

  4. Yeah, but doesn't one of the bar staff at Popolo's look like Quentin Tarantino???

  5. Cocktail is nothing but combining two or more ingredients in your alcoholic drink. It becomes a common trend now. Here is the interesting facts about it.
    sloe gin


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