Uncovering a hidden gem always feels a bit special. Like a reward, or something earned. Well then, take this unsuspecting storefront opposite Haggerston overground. Beyond those doors sits a wealth of surprises in the form of café come cocktail haven, MAP Maison. Feel a bit Alice in Wonderland having fallen down the rabbit hole here, as they're also now doing delightful afternoon tea. Except, imagine Alice stayed at the Mad Hatter's Party and come 7pm, bumped the tea for cocktails. We mean, we've heard of adding a dash of the good stuff to your coffee, but we wonder if tea would blend as well. Lucky for us, MAP Maison does the best of both.
Full of character, MAP Maison has a natural air of class about it, but in a really approachable way. You needn't be intimidated here. So pop yourself onto one of their sofas, sip on one of their beautifully original cocktails and feel like a right proper adult. Low lighting and wood-tones gives MAP Maison a cool, rustic feel, and small touches such as large antlers positioned on a wall right by the entrance lets you know that this is not your average cocktail bar. Its décor takes you take to a time of rebellion and unapologetic glamour, the 1920s, everyone's favourite style icon decade. The sofas and stools make you think you've hijacked an antique store for your own party antics. What we love most about this place is the creativity, and no better expression of it are their menus. Each menu is hidden inside a different hardback, classic children's book. Not only is this crazily unique, but it creates a soft sense of nostalgia. The best part, though, is that the actual story is still in the book, so you can return to the loving words of The Jungle Book while your mate has popped off to get a round in.
Music: Jazz, House, Throwback
Dress Code: Smart/Casual
Train Station: Haggerston
Address: MAP Maison, 321 Kingsland Road, London, E8 4DL
Fortunately, the staff don't let you forget it's a cocktail bar of a very high standard. With fresh fruit and spices laid across the long bar, the barmen are always showing off their impressive flair. Another thing that makes MAP Maison stand out from the rest is the remarkable menu of original cocktails. They add to it frequently as their mixologists are constantly experimenting with exciting and seasonal flavours to make your night a unique one. A notable favourite is The Perfect Poison, which takes you on a vodka and fruit fling, with a gingerbread liqueur that is perfect for the countdown to Christmas. Sod getting excited about the Starbucks seasonal menu, MAP Maison is far more festive. The staff are collected and cool, while also making sure you're enjoying every moment of your time there. They do host themed events where they introduce a notable DJ to the decks for a night full of experimental tunes and familiar mixes to vibe to.
MAP Maison is open from brunch hours 'til late, so you can go there for their selection of deliciously crafted small plates, as well afternoon tea and evening tipples. From 4pm-7.30pm, their 2-for-1 on cocktails and beer really is a treat. You can also experience a more private night in their basement speakeasy. This area is exclusively for members, but if your inner flapper girl wants to try out something special, then contact them about this place. This venue really values every customer, and prides itself on its suitability for everyone so the service is here is truly fantastic.
This place really will stick with you. The small details will make your time here exciting and refreshing, but also with a soft comforting feeling as if MAP Maison was created just for you. It is in fact, titled specifically to mean 'universal house', as it's of paramount importance to these guys that no matter where you hail from, at MAP, you feel at home. That's exactly why the service is so accommodating, the menus are so diverse and the décor is so fantastically bizarre. MAP Maison is also a great place to take someone special to show off your knowledge of the kooky and unusual East London bar scene. You'll seem all travelled and worldly, as MAP Maison is literally a world within a world. Woah man. That's like, bar-ception.