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Monday 28 January 2013

King of Cocktails: House of Wolf...

The London Mice are, as always, on the look out for a new place to go for an expertly mixed cocktail, a great vibe and lots of fun! As luck would have it, we just happen to have a little gem to add to your London black book of bars - the fabulous House of Wolf.

The website describes House of Wolf as 'a multi-functional, multi-sensory pleasure palace, dedicated to the creative pursuits of dining, drinking, art and entertainment', from this I was none the wiser as to what to expect but intrigued to say the least. And after one pretty awesome visit, I have a suspicion that it still has even more to give...!

House of Wolf is located in a three story Victorian building on Upper Street (Highbury and Islington end) - immediately impressive, seeminlgly popular and distinguishable by the grey wolf welcoming you in!

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You enter on the ground floor walking straight into The Music Hall, this comprises of the main bar and infamous stage that houses the 'entertainment' - unfortunately we didn't get to experience this element when we were there but I believe the likes of burlesque and cabaret feature throughout the week and the website nods towards other more mysterious goings on ...'creative events for discerning adults, high profile club nights and fun filled 'get-on-down' parties...' The interiors are beautiful yet quirky with oversized mirrors, diamond encrusted wolves, mushroom printed chairs, candles littering all surfaces and decadent light fixtures...

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The main pull for me was the much raved about Apothecary bar - experimental cocktail king, Stephen Quainton and his team claim to push the boundaries of taste through unusual combinations, drama and fun! This they most certainly did, providing a definite experience that we can't recommend enough! Located on the first floor, the Apothecary bar is compact to say the least but this only adds to the exclusivity. The main feature among the Victorian knick-knacks and oversized street lamps is the impressive 'Prescriptions' bar complete with a bartender mixing his personalised concoctions in a white lab coat and a flat cap! 

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When we arrived our enthusiastic waitress raved that we had the best seat in the house and led us to a bookcase at the back of the room, this was pulled away from the wall and behind was a candlelit cubby hole with a table for four! Perfect! Especially as we hadn't all caught up since Christmas Eve so there were lots of raised voices, squawks and excitable shouting over each other ... where better to be concealed than within a secret book case?!
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SO the drinks ... we decided to pick from the Apothecary menu - the real essence of what the House of Wolf does best - how could we refuse! We decided on 'Over the Pop' - a popcorn infused Bourbon sour which came with a side of iced cherries and a shot of popping candy, a 'Crumble' - a group favourite of spiced fruit jam, vodka, egg white and apple juice all topped off with cinnamon foam, a 'T.I.K.I' described only as a ridiculous rum drink served with an edible beach scene and finally a 'Black Treacle' - Middle Mouse's adventurous choice of black pudding infused rum and apple served with a side of black pudding! They were all devoured (bar the side of black pudding!) with top taste points going to the Crumble and the award for most quirky and never to be forgotten going to Black Treacle - strong, unusual and like nothing you've ever had before!

Finally, on the top floor you'll find the Attic Dining Room - we weren't eating, so we didn't visit this section but it's said to be a den of decadence ... velvet, beams, impressive light features and with a totally unpredictable menu! Once again House of Wolf boasts another unique slant by presenting a permanent series of pop up chefs - currently Kemble and Rodgers have taken over the kitchen space with their 5-course tasting menu which apparently has a progressive British style and Japanese aesthetic ... confused? Why not head on down and try it out for yourself? Kemble & Rodgers are set to reign the Attic until 23rd February, so plenty of time to get it scheduled in! 

This is a difficult one to do justice in a blog post, you can't quite describe the unpredictable, unusual beauty and creative genius behind this project. Having visited I now understand the shroud of mystery the website creates - I predict that every time you go, you'll have a completely new and unknown experience! 

We spent the evening drinking behind a bookcase, discovering hidden dens and snugs...

and finally stumbling back to the Music Hall to be taken through the decades in music - I can safely say this was the most fun I have had in a long time! Dancing to songs from the 40's, 50's and 60's and a few top tunes of today all spun by a DJ in goggles ... which of course Middle Mouse was given a challenge to steal...

Final word...not your average run of the mill bar, but instead a totally unique immersive experience with delicious cocktails waiting to be explored. 


House of Wolf
181 Upper Street
N1 1RQ
020 7288 1470

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