Joyeux Bordel, which translates as Happy mess (or brothel, depending on the context!), is a new cocktail bar found on Curtain Road, in the heart of trendy Shoreditch. The entrance is well hidden, with a simple black door protected by a bouncer, and reservations are well advised as space is limited (you will not be allowed in unless there are empty seats for you and your friends).
Having no reservation, we had to talk our way into the bar with the ‘host’ and his atypical look (watch out for the top hat and the cape…). After coming in and out of the bar a few times he finally agreed to let us in, which made us feel lucky and even more curious about the place.
The room is filled with low velvet sofas and seats and the low lighting gives a cosy feeling which is strikingly different from the average Shoreditch bar (don’t expect apparent pipes/ceiling and brick walls). The decor is sophisticated with mirrors and mismatched rugs and has a boudoir feel. The impression is that you are entering a rather secretive part of Shoreditch, which is usually loud and filled with Essex travelers…
We were seated at the bar which allowed us to observe the talented barman and admire their unusual and cool collection of glasses coming in all sizes and shapes. The drink menu is modest; with 10 cocktails and some Champagnes. It was an obvious choice for me to go for what I expected to be the signature cocktail, named after the place (Jolly Mess), but the barman was quick to point out that all their cocktails are unique. It was delicious and with Eaux de vie de Poire and Dark Chocolate Liqueur, which was rather boozy. My partner chose Bric a brac, a sweet and flowery cocktail champagne which may please the more delicate palate.
The music was spot on with a rather good DJ playing from a vinyl DJ turntable installed opposite the bar. The sound level was perfectly balanced so we could chat as well as getting in the party mood.
If you’re feeling hungry, a few nibbles are available which includes Rillette, Cooked Ham and a cheese selection from Androuet, the local cheese shop (also well worth a visit on a different occasion!)
Enjoying the good music we decided to go for seconds and I stayed true to myself and went for the second boozy cocktail on the list called Black Beard, made with ‘Smith & Cross’ rum. My partner went for Softly Softly, made with Gin, Suze and Chilli and turned out to be spicy and not really up my street.
Expectedly the cocktails are on the pricy side (around the 10£ mark) but that did not stop us from leaving the room satisfied and rather jolly.
My advice: book now before the secret is out and Essex travelers hear about it!
Joyeux bordel 147 Curtain Road London EC2A 3QE
Monday – Thursday: 6pm – 2am. Friday – Saturday: 6pm – 3am. Sunday: 6pm – midnight