Farewell Rotary Bar! I’ll miss your chill atmosphere, the spicy buffalo chicken sandwich, and the pineapple bacon jam covered Roller Disco burger. I’m glad I got to have one more night with you to sample your delights and I’m looking forward to your next reincarnation. Readers, if you haven’t been yet, you’ve got 2 days (last day is Friday, 20 December) to get in there before it closes and the developers turn the site into – well I don’t know but probably flats which won’t serve up some great grub.
Although there are a number of excellent watering holes in the Old St area, I still prefer grabbing a pint of Camden Hells at the bar at Rotary. The atmosphere is wonderful for relaxing and catching up with friends as they arrive and they also serve up “festival sized” cocktails which are regular strength cocktails but in full pint sizes. Saves time on getting back to bar!
What about this food?
My two stalwart favourites are the Roller Disco burger and the buffalo chicken sandwich. The RDB is made with aged rare beef and cooked medium rare to let the fully meaty flavours run riot. The depth of the beef is well supported by the sweet and salty notes of the pineapple bacon jam (whoever invented bacon jam is a genius!) and the bun in general does the job. I was a tad disappointed at the slightly underseasoned patty last time, but overall it’s been a stellar option.
The chicken sandwich is a messy proposition but has a good balance of heat and flavour. The chicken has always been perfectly cooked for a tender juicy bird and the crispy batter adds another layer of texture. The only one that has put up any competition is MEATMission’s offering so I’ll be extra sad to see this disappear given the UK’s inability to create some top-notch buffalo sauce (@OrangeBuffalo – I’ll be coming to find you soon!).
So about these giant cocktails?
Yes, bigger is better as far as Rotary is concerned and the bartenders there whip up some drinks that are proper boozy and not simply extra diluted. We’ve tried most of them and they’ve all been refreshing and well balanced so whichever you pick, you’ll likely be happy. I usually stick with beers and the occasional whiskey keeping in line with the general feel of the place.
However, if you fancy something different, take on the Mezcalator which is composed of 6 single village mescals. At around 40-50ml each, this proves to be a hefty amount of booze and you have to down then in a row to get your name on the Mezcalator Hall of Fame. It’s almost a shame as they are pretty tasty but I can’t help myself – I wanted to be up there alongside @BurgAffair.
Worth the dosh?
Yes, definitely yes. For £15, you can get a sandwich (fries included!) and a drink which is a pretty solid way to start the night or hang out with friends. They don’t rush you and the staff are friendly (although drinks may take a little while to arrive if the place is busy).
Find Rotary Bar & Diner here (for just two more days)
Rotary Bar & Diner, 70 City Road, EC1Y 2BJ
020 7065 6800