1 Whitby Street,
(020) 7012 1234
The ViewLondon Review
Gloriously tacky and so in-your-face it almost takes your breath away, Loungelover says a big ‘up yours’ to the economic downturn and glories in opulence. Bravo.
Loungelover’s decor couldn’t be further removed from its surroundings if it tried. Firstly, it’s located within an old meat-packing factory. Glam. Then there’s the fact it’s located on one of East London’s bleakest stretches of road. But this just makes Loungelover all the more sumptuous. You step in off the cold grey street and are thrown into a crazy world dominated by bold pinks, jewels, trinkets and OTT lighting. You’ll need to visit several times and sit in various places just to take in all the little embellishments but they include a roaring hippo’s head, carousel horses and images of human anatomy (nothing rude, actual anatomy). You’ll also spy vases taller than you are and murals designed to look like they’ve been ripped straight out of a castle. And even the seating is a crazy mix of banquettes, sofas and ornate chairs nestled against wooden or glass tables. It really is a schizophrenic take on bar aesthetics, but it’s so cool you won’t even care if you end up in a straight jacket.
Loungelover is cool but boy does it know it. So you can expect the staff greeting you to be a little blase but the waiting and bar staff are efficient, they keep the drinks flowing and are very good at what they do. The customers dress to impress but this is East London so you’ll spy a few ‘Shoreditch types’ thrown in for good measure and even a few suits. It’s wise to book ahead as, although this is not the latest trendy hotspot, it’s still widely considered to be one of the best cocktail bars in London, certainly in East London. You’ll also find a few pre- and post-diners having eaten in the nearby sister restaurant, Les Trois Garcons.
The food at Loungelover is Japanese and is quite a number of notches above the usual bar snacks. There’s a lot to choose from and the majority of the dishes fall into the £5 or less category, which is reasonable, although the plates are small. The sashimi salmon is £5 for a few slivers of perfectly fresh, delicately salty pieces of fish. Alternatively, the soft shell crab futomaki is more expensive at £7.50 but you do get 5 pieces of well-seasoned soft shell crab in delicate, nicely put together rolls, which isn’t quite enough to share if you’re feeling hungry but acts as a nice accompaniment to the cocktails.
Loungelover is all about the cocktails, and given the fact that they’re well priced at £8-£11, they are excellent quality. A great example of this is the bar’s namesake, the Loungelover (£9) a drink that comprises of an unusual mix of fig liqueur, sweet vanilla and lemon oil finished with Loungelover champagne (yup, they even have their own champagne). The result? A surprisingly delicate cocktail with a sweetness that doesn’t overpower the dry champagne. If you really like it sweet then opt for a Strawberry Lolly (£9) made up of Sagatiba Pura caçhaca mixed with strawberries, coconut, vanilla and cream. The long drink is very sweet, very creamy and very rich but the cachaca does cut through it all well enough to offer a pleasant kick at the end of each sip. Of course, if you REALLY want to go for it then they offer an Ultimate Martini made with Roberto Cavalli vodka, but it does come with the whopping great price tag of £19. It is the ultimate, after all. Otherwise, they offer some innovative mixes playing on the Japanese theme with sake-based cocktails as well as all of the classics.
The Last Word
If you’re in Shoreditch but don’t fancy slumming it and want to escape the trendy rough-around-the-edges spots then Loungelover ticks all of the boxes.
Loungelover has been reviewed by 57 users