Ok, so when we got word that the team behind Nightjar had bought an old mouldering London pub in Smithfield Market, we knew it was going to be nothing short of amazing. Since Nightjar opened five years ago, it has consistently been voted one of the top bars in the world and any bar with a link to that family is a big drawcard —basically a shortcut to guaranteed fun.
The drumroll of anticipation for Edmund Weil and his team’s next venture was loud. We’d been keeping an eye out for any miniscule change in its façade whenever we passed by, hoping they’d brush the cobwebs off ASAP. Patience paid off —Oriole will open on Friday November 20th and has all the makings of another iconic watering hole for the city.
Inspired by the global flight paths of the Oriole bird, Weil and his team have drawn on the adventurous spirit of geographical travel and exploration, creating an exotic cocktail bar that marries lashings of old-world glamour (think 1940s nightclub) with a high-spec fit-out comparable to a Michelin-starred kitchen.
The grandiosity doesn’t stop there: upon descending beneath London’s famous Smithfield meat market, guests are invited to either be seated at high stools lining the bar, or in luxurious padded leather booths and tables. And lest we forget about the spellbinding menu: as well as this beguiling décor, refreshments at Oriole are set to enchant and delight nonetheless.
The mastermind behind the bar will be Luca Cinalli, who has been at Nightjar since day one and has assisted in crafting a menu that is divided into three themes: Old World, New World and the Orient. Fundamentally, you can gallivant across the globe in one evening and experience the drinking habits from each of these parts of the globe. Fancy going east? The Orient section of the menu celebrates this part of the world’s intensity, variety, flavours and colours with a range of bold and daring cocktails.
The “Ryoan-Ji” is inspired by the Zen Gardens in Japan, subtly combining Blue Rose Milk, Japanese Whisky and Seaweed Syrup, all served in a ceramic egg basket.
Going back to the Old World traditionally refers to Africa and Europe: fans of age-old mythology and forest-lore of Europe will be tantalised with gin and beer combinations.
The New World section of the menu ventures to the Americas and evokes a sense of discovery, and we think perhaps this is where we’ll travel to just for presentation purposes: a ‘tea’ of artichoke, hay and mushroom inspired by the diet of the buffalo, is served with a mustard-laced buffalo milk foam and a white chocolate rim. Oh, and it’s served in a buffalo horn.
And there’s nothing less fun than playing the “where should we go next?” lottery after a few cocktails if you want some live music to jive to. Here’s where Oriole will charm us again: music performances start at 8.30pm – 7 nights a week on the prominent stage with an unrivalled programme of live swing, jazz and blues.
Need we say more?
Oriole, East Poultry Avenue, Central Markets, London EC1A 9LH