"Owner of an exceptional Rye Old Fashioned"Review Rating: Reviewed by T.A.O
Things start pretty sweet for the Cocktail Trading Company. Given its location beneath the superlatively named ‘Ask For Janice’ in Smithfield Market, we’re already smiling when we descend the steps into the basement that contains the – for want of a less hackneyed description – speakeasy bar. Dim, glowing and with more than a touch of engineered ‘naffness’ by way of some questionable wall mounts, the space is exactly what you want from a cocktail bar. Small tables cover one half of the compact room along with some high-perched tops for observing the consistent flow of attractive drinks coming out from behind the bar.
The Cocktail Trading Co. doesn’t serve food but there’s always Ask For Janice above if you get hungry. Alternatively, order the Snapper’s Delight, a crazy take on your favourite basket of fast food served up as a drink. Delivered in a squeezy red ketchup bottle and dressed up with Chipsticks (‘French fries’) and a pickle, it’s about the weirdest drink we’ve tried. Usually all that jazz – not to mention the plastic bottle – wouldn’t be our thing but this one works. A smoky rye Old Fashioned comes next – acting as our benchmark of a great bar – and blows us away with its well-balanced depth and slow-melt hunk of ice. Started by three bartenders with award-winning pasts, the Cocktail Trading Co. originally started as a consultancy. Luckily for us they branched out into bars with this Smithfield branch joining the established Carnaby Street bar. Come for the libation and you won’t be disappointed, although the interior and atmosphere are more than a match for the cocktails. To top it off there’s regular live music, as if it needed more charm to complete its basement speakeasy world.
T.A.O reviewed The Cocktail Trading Company Smithfield on Sun 20 Dec 2015Review disclosure: reviewer was invited to review