Gin-o-clock is our favourite time of day and, if Twitter is to be believed, it’s the Queen’s favourite time of day too. And while it’s not hard to find a decent whisky bar in this post-Mad-Men-I’ll-have-an-old-fashioned-please world, finding a similarly good gin bar is a taller order. Our prayers, and yours (and Her Majesty’s, probably) have been answered in Soho-based Graphic - a bar which dedicates itself to this momentous spirit.
It’s just a minute’s walk from Piccadilly Circus, yet Graphic sits in a surprisingly quiet space. The concrete facade and main door - flanked on either side with two big bamboo plants - sets the tone: it’s industrial, but never intimidating. On the inside, brickwork and concrete beams are left exposed. Bare light bulbs hang from above, the lower thirds of which have been coated in a silver paint so that they cast an orange pool of light up and across the ceiling. Single candles sit on the wood tables, projections of old sports games play on walls and there’s a host of chairs and stools to sit on. The prime real estate section at the front window is an elegant arrangement of leather sofas. The bar top is a huge concrete slab, nothing more, nothing less.
Music: Commercial, Pop, Funk, Jazz
Dress Code: Smart/Casual
Train Station: Piccadilly Circus
Address: Graphic , 4 Golden Square, London, W1F 9HT
Graphic’s back bar is its crowning achievement. It’s packed with over 300(!) different kinds of gin. The aviation (Beefeater London Dry) is a beauty and The Last Word (Plymouth gin, Yellow Chartreuse, lime juice, maraschino liqueur) is similarly stunning. They deserve credit for that. On its own, Chartreuse is good for little and terrible for much more. It’s essentially a more potent Listerine, the kind of drink where ordering a shot of it might (given its hefty alcohol percentage) be the last coherent words you speak for the night. Graphic’s cocktail paint tins (served, surprisingly, in paint tins) are inspired by colours: ‘red’ combines berry liqueur and cranberry while ‘green’ mixes cucumber, mint and apple. Beers and wine are available for the sod who refuses to drink what’s good for them and bar snacks are available if you’re peckish. Funk and jazz music play in the background and there are occasional DJ nights.
The people here are defined by what they drink: gin. And when they’ve finished, they’ll drink more gin. And if they’re not drinking gin, then they’re the annoying sod we mentioned earlier who’s letting you, Graphic and themselves down. For shame. They’re lovely people, sure, but they should know better. On top of getting a classic cocktail and some more unusual concoctions, Graphic’s also a place to find out more about your favourite spirit. They stock a whole range of brands we’d never even heard of and, once a month on a Monday they host a Gin Social to showcase new and exciting brands for customers to try. Tickets are £5, available online and they’re well worth it.
Perfect with a splash of tonic and a lime wedge (or a slice cucumber if your mate’s being fancy and drinking Hendricks like they know something), gin is a drink whose refreshing characteristics have made it the base of so many brilliant cocktails. At Graphic, gin drinkers are offered a gin-o-tropolis. It’s majestic, the kind of place where you’d be forgiven for thinking that Eros, that sneaky bronze boy, had purposefully aimed his bow and timed it just right so that your eyes met that concrete front and bold Graphic signage. Graphic, it’s love at first sight and it’s a love that won’t be fading any time soon.