Even before The Gibson opened (ever-so-quietly) on Old Street, we’d already pre-registered ourselves in the fan club. Because not only is part-owner Marian Beke a bar manager at Nightjar for five years, but Rusty Cerven — who will be bar manager at The Gibson — was formally a senior mixologist at The Connaught Bar. So between the two, The Gibson was always going to be ultra-warmly accepted.
The new gem of a cocktail bar is housed in a sympathetically re-styled, listed building with an Edwardian tiled façade. The interior fuses old world Art Deco charm with a flourish of Adam Ant drama. It’s adventurous and discreetly dazzling, and set to thrill discerning drinkers with its original creators, intimate shadowy ambience, glinting mirrors and glossings of vintage silver. Rusty and Marian were keen to not cross-pollinate between The Gibson and their previous outposts: created by concept designed Helen Calle-Lin, they want patrons to be mesmerized by the meeting of “precision and spontaneity”.
But it’s all about ‘The Gibson’ essentially. Leading the menu is this classic martini of intrigue, which is elegantly served in a signature ice-cold, stainless steel martini glass. Invented in the 1900s, Marian and Rusty have bought it bang up to date with their own interpretations and twists of tingling pickled sweet-sour nuances.
Aside from the signature Gibson, a couple of notable serves include “The Onion Cocktail”: (1917 – The Ideal Bartender) which combines Tanqueray Gin, Martini Riserva Rubino, and the Gibson-house pickled onion and the “Pickled Banana Daiquiri”, fusing Azuki Bean liqueur, Bacardi 8 yo rum, banana chutney, milk oolong and palm sugar.
To go with cocktails, a light selection of wines (and fancy champagnes!) and local brews from Crate in Hackney and even Iceland’s Einstock are on offer. The Gibson’s menu is custom-built around the concept of easy-peasy: think finely spice tartares made with steaks from neighbouring Smithfield Market, plus dishes of shaved parmesan, and charcuterie & cheese boards served with house-made pickles and chutneys.
And if you’re intrigued with the idea of staying late into the night, enjoying a loungy soundtrack of live music sessions —rejoice, as The Gibson will politely oblige. Consider us established members of the Gibson fan club.
The Gibson, 44 Old Street, London EC1V 9AQ