"A busy city pub with an intimate cocktail bar in the basement"Review Rating: Reviewed by Leila
From the outside The Arbitrager is a typical City pub, but head downstairs and there is a separate bar run by Demon, Wise & Partners, focusing on classic cocktails. It’s dimly lit and booth-seating only, and their menu prominently lists two drinks priced at £16 each, the “Demon” and the ”Wise”, each only to be made 100 times before the recipes change. On our visit the Demon was a homage to the martini and we tried three variations: the 1870s syrupy Martinez, the 1930s Marguerite with an orange twist, and today’s better known dry Martini. The Wise uses whisky made by acclaimed Japanese distillery Nikka.
The cocktails, priced at £11, are pretty good. Kir Blanc Royale is made with a very decent champagne (Pierre Moncu Grand Cru Blanc de Blancs for those of you taking notes), and The Witch of Portobello, a strong drink named after Portobello Road gin, with rosé vermouth and an Italian herbal liquor called Strega, adorned with a little witch pendant. There are charcuterie and cheese platters too to soak up the hefty spirits.
Back upstairs in the pub they only serve London beers and spirits, from places like Beavertown, Hackney Brewery, Sipsmith and the East London Liquor Company. They also make their own tonic water, orange in colour which they say is its natural hue before filtering. A G&T with house tonic is £5, or £8 for a double. Being located near Bank station means it gets very crowded with after-work suits, but the basement bar is far more subdued.
Leila reviewed The Arbitrager on Fri 14 Aug 2015Review disclosure: reviewer was invited to review