A Night In Wonderland: London's Looking Glass Cocktail Club

Photo of Alice Burns
30 November 2016

London boasts an array of fabulous bars. In the depths of East London, there is an eccentric joint that is unmissable. Step off the beaten track in trendy Shoreditch, head down Hackney Road and enter a domain where the modern speakeasy is combined with the weird and wonderful, much like when Alice tumbled down the rabbit hole herself. We find out more.

The Lion and The Unicorn | © ‘Looking Glass Cocktail Club’

Not immediately obvious to passersby, the Looking Glass Cocktail Club can at first seem a little underwhelming. The front door opens straight into a cosy bar, complete with mis-matched furnishings and exposed brick walls, somewhat reminiscent of a kitsch living room. But do not be put off by its seemingly calm atmosphere – you are about to be presented with a cocktail list that is full of surprises. The list of options is presented in a book that tells a story about each drink and the character that it is named after, written in an old English style that adds poetic charm.

Beautifully crafted by the Looking Glass team and complete with home made bitters, syrups and liqueurs, this menu will certainly impress. What’s more, these unique concoctions are created in a laboratory underneath the bar that is fondly referred to as Underland, adding to the sense of mystery and wonder about the place. Lewis Carroll and his creation of alternative realities in Alice In Wonderland and Alice Through The Looking Glass have inspired each cocktail, all of which are aptly named after the characters from the books. The White Rabbit will have you feeling ‘curiouser and curiouser’ – a brandy-based tipple shaken with fresh orange and lemon juices that in fact tastes just like carrot. The Lion And The Unicorn allows you to enjoy afternoon tea in a completely unique way, presented in a delicate teacup full of blazing Sipsmith VJOP gin and laced with Pedro Ximénez Sherry.

For those who enjoy drinks with a difference and indulging their sweet tooth, this locale will be a real winner. Due to the bar usually being frequented by large groups of friends, the team at Looking Glass have also included sharing options on the menu, such as the rum based Turtle Soup which serves up to 15 people and will be delivered to your table by their very own Mad Hatter.

As well as the inspiration taken from Lewis Carroll’s novels, the masters behind this creation took an interest in the prohibition period, where alcoholic drinks had to be disguised with strong flavors and aromas. After sampling the drinks menu, ask your waiter to escort you ‘through the looking glass’ which exists in the shape of a floor to ceiling grand mirror. Be prepared to enter a hidden space that can only be described as wonderland-inspired debauchery. Here, the smooth, electronic tunes have been turned up a notch and the eccentric entertainment will have you wanting to stay until the early hours.

Cheshire Cat | © ‘Looking Glass Cocktail Club’

Great for a few experimental drinks early in the week, or for a wilder party at the weekend, Looking Glass Cocktail Club is open until midnight every night and until 2am on Fridays and Saturdays. Get ready to attend the most raucous and fabulous tea party London has to provide.

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