International hospitality from Iceland to Bosnia
The hottest new boozer in London doesn’t even have a liquor licence.
Since February, Londoners have been clamouring to get a reservation at BYOC, a tiny 18-seat bar hidden in the basement of a Covent Garden juice bar. But lest you think London was turning into a teetotalling crowd, take heart. BYOC stands for bring your own cocktail. You bring the hooch and the mixologist supplies the magic.
So pick up your favourite spirit or dust off that bottle of sherry and head to the Juice Club on Bedfordbury Street. Once inside, the hostess ushers you behind a hidden door and down a narrow stairway that leads to a candlelit brick basement, roughly the size of a Tube carriage. Music by Ella Fitzgerald may be playing on the gramophone and the mixologist will wheel over his vintage Italian cart stocked with fresh juices, homemade syrups, bitters and herbs to whip up a custom cocktail based on your flavour preferences.
You can get a pitcher for the whole table or order individual drinks if you want to try a few different combinations. Each seating lasts two hours and costs £20 per person.
Expect to be served anywhere from three to six times during your seating – although you may want to stick closer to three cocktails or less if you want to get back up those winding stairs in one piece.