Ray's Bar, Dalston: bar review
Below Dalston's favourite pizza joint, something exciting is happening. We take a close look at the killer cocktails at subterranean Ray's Bar
It's tempting to wonder what Kingsland High Street would feel like if not for Dan Beaumont, Matt Tucker and Dan Pope. You might not have heard of this trio by name, but chances are if you live in and around east London, you'll have stumbled into their New York-style pizza-by-the-slice joint Voodoo Ray's for a late-night bite on your way home.
Before that, the three of them also founded Dalston Superstore, an easygoing London LGBTQ club that, when it's not pumping out funky house, does a great line in brunch and excellent cocktails, just the other side of the historic Rio Cinema. With this in mind, the juxtaposition of the upmarket underground bar just underneath a quick-and-easy pizza place starts to make a little more sense.
Because Ray's Bar is a proper cocktail bar. Drinks here are made with chef-like precision and poise – from the Smoking Jacket, with its spiky, medicinal punch and smokey mezcal flavours, to the Motor City Rum Ensemble, a “modified daiquiri” with an aromatic finish like the aftermath of a fireworks display.
Dave Miller manages the bar and creates the drinks, and it's clear from the menu that it's the work of someone who has a genuine passion for alcohol. Not that it's unapproachable, though: there's live jazz on Wednesdays, and on Thursdays, you can find one-off drinks menus specifically created to pair with sets from DJs until late. This is Dalston, after all…
95 Kingsland High St, E8 2PB; raysbarlondon.com
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