Reverend JW Simpson
No speakeasy worth its salt sets up shop without an interesting back-story to complement its classic cocktails and hidden entryway sleight-of-hand. Luckily, the Reverend JW Simpson obliges. The story goes that the venue was once home to the very same man of the church who gave the bar his mouthful of a moniker, before housing a less-than-legal gentleman’s club. The wallpaper in the ‘bedroom’ is still shadowed by artworks long since removed, and the overall vibe leans towards the antique.
Within this once seedy basement, punters now nuzzle up on an array of plush couches, lulled into a cosy stupor by the low lighting and clattering cocktail shakers. From their twin stations, the bartenders dispense some serious drinks. A Prune Manhattan, served in a cut-crystal glass with a speared black prune, is honeyed, herbal, powerful – everything you’d want from this cocktail redux. And a Mead Feast, which blends basil and quince with the honeyed wine, is beguiling.
Though the Reverend JW Simpson is rarely bustling, even on weekend nights, consider that a bonus – with room to stretch out and a menu full of tantalising offerings, you’ll want to settle in for the night.