The infamous party centre of Shoreditch definitely has its fair share of bars. But they’re usually teeming with people, annoyingly noisy and just a bit TOO MUCH – so I tend to prefer the places that are a little more well hidden. Yep, I’ve become that person.
To find your way into to new pop-up Mexican bar El Bandito, you actually have to head to the back of dim sum restaurant The Drunken Monkey, then follow the neon signage down to the underground room holding approximately 50 tequilas and 25 mezcals. Firstly, that’s a pretty impressive collection. Secondly, that’s definitely the level of hidden I can get on board with.
For some post-work catch-up drinks, I met up with Charley to check out the press launch night of El Bandito and sip on some magical Mexican cocktails. The brand originated up in Liverpool, where the team have a total of six bars across the city. Their London venue has a capacity of just 40, with a menu featuring everything from frozen margaritas to flights of tequila.
We tried a couple of the house cocktails, the TNT and El Diabolo. They were definitely pretty strong (which I totally approve of), but also sweet and fruity, very easy to drink. The full range of cocktails on the menu feature a range of different tequila and mezcals, and have some brilliant names. Blood, Sand and Suspicious Parents, anyone? Or how about a TLC No Shrubs?
I dunno about you, but my straight up tequila-drinking usually happens when I’m plenty of drinks down, and is served up with a wedge of lemon and a sprinkling of salt. Not at El Bandito…along with our first cocktails, we were brought over some of the house tequila to try out. And…I’ve actually forgotten what it’s called. Obviously, the drinks were that good, eh?
The bar is open every day, 5pm til late, and will be around until early June. If you’re looking for a drink in Shoreditch away from the overwhelming bustle of the high street, it’s definitely worth popping in to El Bandito. (Side note: We didn’t try out the dim sum at The Drunken Monkey, but it smelt REALLY good…)
Underneath The Drunken Monkey
222 Shoreditch High St, E1 6PJ
Photos by Charley (absolute hero for bringing her camera), edited by me.