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Although the outside of Bethnal Green’s coolest bar might put off an non-discerning tourist, it’s the go-to for the off-the-clock creative. Truly a nod to the eclectic nature of East London culture, Satan’s Whiskers is the areas re-imagining of the all-American dive bar.
343 Cambridge Road
Bethnal Green is no stranger whatsoever to a generous dollop of grafitti, but Satan’s Whiskers slathered exterior verges on off-putting. Indeed, we at the Paradise Row team have had it that friends who we were meant to meet there have walked straight past its unlikely front door.
Stickers, the spray paint near synonymous with the area, and political posters decorate the outside to the extent that you’d be forgiven thinking that the red neon was a symbol of a dead institution hat had given way to squatters.
If you are to enter at 7 pm on a Friday night, however, you’re met with a cultural treat that exceeds all expectations given by the hubs exterior. Expect instead: buzzing atmosphere, award winning cocktails and a tongue-in-cheek ethos; all set to a soundtrack of American rap, trap and RnB.
It’s not a visit for the easily spooked or shocked: if you’re not phased by the explicit lyrics of bar-favourite Kendrick Lamar filling the room, you’re more likely to be freaked out by the surprising amount of taxidermy, with a real-life unicorn and a snake-chicken as regular faces at the bar.
We’d recommend booking a table in advance though, we’ve had it far too often that our hopes of sitting at the bar watching some astounding cocktail craft have been dashed in the face of a crammed bar.
“It’s not a visit for the easily spooked or shocked.”
If you’re willing to wait it out though, the thoughtful staff take your number and offer to call as soon as a table is free, and even suggest local places to wait out your time before a coveted Satan’s Whiskers table is available. Attention to detail and exceptional customer service is clearly integral to the success of the establishment; an ethos that’s earned attention from the cultural titans at Soho House, as a previous successful collaboration will see the skilled mixologists make waves at Electric House very soon. Soho House members — take note!
Menus are printed daily with a constantly evolving set-list of drinks, inspired by history, music and the arts— along with a tongue-in-cheek list of nicknames for the staff serving that night (shout-out to ‘Handsome Eric’).
The quality of the comfort food of the menu is second only to the cocktails, the metaphorical bread and butter of Satan’s Whiskers. Each drink comes with a story, whether it’s the historical tale behind the Hemingway Daiquiri, or the occasional hip-hop inspired beverage, it’s testament to the careful thought and craft that goes into curating each menu, and the passion behind their creation by the staff.
It’s a no-brainer if you’re in need of an escape but can’t afford a holiday, let the surreal experience of Satan’s Whiskers transport you to a world free from the typical London vibe, one where top-tier cocktails and taxidermy reign supreme.
Book your table at Satan’s whiskers on 02077398362
Words + Images : Hannah Crosbie