Graphic Bar boasts a large collection (65-70) of gins that I used to think was the biggest in London – then I saw City of London Distillery Bar’s massive range of 217 gins (at last count). Still, Graphic holds a spot in my heart for helping me learn that there was more to gin than just Gordon’s and Bombay Sapphire.
On evenings (particularly weekends), the place is heaving with young professional types getting their drink on before a night out. It’s not bad but you end up inevitably getting splattered with some Paint Tin Punch as groups try to share out a large can and it’s a rare person who doesn’t end up dripping in sweat due to the tightly packed area. Still, it’s fun, the staff are welcoming, and the drinks are potent and delicious so you can’t really go wrong.
It’s a bar so you should meet there. Plus, you can start carving out a space for your group as it’s near impossible to squeeze a decent size party in without a booking. If you have a larger group, book at table as far in advance as possible as it makes the whole experience so much better.
How about the food?
I don’t think I’ve ever eaten here, but the sharing platters look decent and will help absorb some of that booze. My preferred options are Nordic Bakery across the square (if you are there during the day) or Maoz on Old Compton Street not too far away for a falafel fix.
If not food, tell me about the drinks?
Oh the drinks. The Paint Tin Punch is the signature cocktail range and comes in 5 colours – each a gin based concoction varying from the light refreshing cucumber Green to the juicy berry-licious Red. Alternatively, work your way through the gin collection with a series of G&T’s – ask the bartenders to find something suited to your tastes or to surprise you with a lesser known bottle. They do know their stuff and, if it’s not too busy, are more than happy to talk you through it.
I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention Graphic’s Juniper Society which meets every two weeks on a Monday at Graphic. Hosted by a different gin, it’s free to attend (you just need to sign up ahead of time as places are limited) and usually the distiller or distributor will walk you through the making of gin, what botanicals are used, and let you sample it straight and in a cocktail or two. It’s a great way to learn a bit more about gins and it’s free so what have you got to lose?
Worth the dosh?
Drinks are about on par for Soho and if you have a table it’s a great experience. I’d give it a miss if you are trying to catch up with friends on a Saturday night but if you want some high energy atmosphere and a tasty bit of booze, this is your place.
Find Graphic here
4 Golden Square, London, W1F 9HT
+44 20 7287 9241