The theme, pre-revolution Havana, played out in the bartenders’ floral shirts and straw hats
On stepping through the door to the Tobacco Dock pop-up Last Nights Of Havana, I thought I should have dressed up.
The team behind nearby bar Skylight has transformed the shed-like Quayside Bar (20 mins from Canary Wharf) into an Art Deco-inflected and sexily dim-lit lounge.
Polished wood tables and scarlet, leather seats were overhung by stained-glass lanterns diffusing subdued, flattering light – and although they hung from a timbered, corrugated-iron roof, the overall aesthetic gave off sophisticated speakeasy-style glam.
The theme, pre-revolution Havana, played out in the bartenders’ floral shirts and straw hats, as well as their rum-based concoctions that were theatrically mixed to order at the island bar.
The highlight of the drinks menu (devised by the boys behind Shoreditch bar Cocktail Trading Company) was the £10.50, sweetand-sour Papa Doble, a white rum cocktail made famous by Ernest Hemingway.
As for the food, it was uncomplicated grilled sandwiches – my meat-tastic choice was stuffed with ham, roast pork and pickles – paired with fried plantain, which would’ve been too dry if not for the guava mayo.
The wall behind the bar was emblazoned with ‘anything might happen’, but the vibe was more sip on a mojito or two and attempt tipsy salsa to the crowdpleasing Latin sounds played by the band.
It’s a beautifully decorated space and it’s fun to watch the bartenders shaking things up, but Last Nights of Havana should work a little harder for its price point.
Tickets cost £20 each including a cocktail on arrival and will increas to £25 in 2019. Go to lastnightsofhavana.com for more information (including on rum-tasting masterclasses)
Cocktails theatrically mixedFlorence Derrick quaffs, sips and imbibes to find the best bars on behalf of The Wharf