Category Archives: Cocktails

Feeling like Stars at The Alchemist

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Feeling like Stars at The Alchemist

Although I’m not keen on singing in public a lot of my friends just love it, so as soon as I found out that one of my favourite pubs in London, The Alchemist, was hosting a Rockaoke Night, I just had to get them down there.

I rang up Elena, the Sales Manager for the pub to book us a table, and I’m glad I did – it was PACKED! Clearly there are a lot of stars on the rise in Houndsditch.  We sat down at our table and ordered some nibbles to start, along with a few gorgeous Cocktails to kick start the night.

Although it’s not my bag, the Rockaoke was awesome!

It was like karaoke, but instead of singing with a pre-prepared song without the words you sang with a LIVE BAND! There were some brilliant acts, as well as some that, let’s just say, should maybe stick with the day job! My friends had a go at the end of the night when the crowds had thinned a little and they said it was just amazing.

I’ll definitely be keeping my eye out for more Rockaoke nights to check out – if they are anything like the one at The Alchemist they are simply not to be missed!

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Shaking it up at 5 o’Clock!

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Shaking it up at 5 o’Clock!

Now, it’s been a while since we last spoke, but that doesn’t mean there hasn’t been a whole lot going on in the party world.

Take last week for instance, a little birdie told me that the Cape Bar on Wood Street were launching their 5 o’clock club, so I had to check it out.

I knew launch night would be rammed, so I rang up Cape’s Party Planner, the lovely Ashleigh and got myself and my friends on the guest list ready for a great night.

And what a night it was! Turns out we could get our hands on 2 Cocktails for the price of 1, so naturally we took full advantage. My friend LOVES Blue Lagoons so went straight for that. It looked amazing! So blue and refreshing! I opted for the Little Miss Sunshine, simply because I am! It was delicious, the perfect blend of Mango, Passion Fruit and Orange Juice – I would definitely recommend!

The upstairs mezzanine area had been kept solely for the 5 o’clock club, giving the whole thing an amazing feeling of exclusivity. We certainly felt like V.I.P’s!

We had a great time, and it certainly helped us wind down after a day in the office! I would definitely check this out if I were you; I know I will be back for more! Check out their Cocktail Menu and decide what you’ll be having first!

Cocktail Alchemy

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Cocktail Alchemy

Very few things in life give me as much pleasure, enjoyment and excitement as a cocktail. These little glasses of alcoholic alchemy are the best way to kick start a night out. I could spend a good 30 minutes nursing a cocktail in the sunshine over a long lunch with good company.

It is rare and momentous occasion when I take a lunch break but I managed to squeeze an hour’s lunch break this week. What can I say; the sun was calling me like a Greek Siren!

I work very close to The Alchemist and I have blogged about this particular pub a few times before. In my opinion, they can do no wrong. Perma thumbs up for Alchemist!

When asked “Would you like to see our cocktail menu” I pretty much snatched the menu from the poor bar girl and let my eyes pour over the menu. I opted for a French Martini, and my fellow cocktail drinkers went for a Bayou Fruit Cup and a Grass Hopper.  Three absolute crackers and all perfect for sipping in the sun over pasta and fresh salads.

French Martini (right): Vodka and Pineapple Juice mixed with Raspberry Liqueur and shaken into a Martini flute served with an orange peel. Utterly DELICIOUS. 9/10. It would have got a 10/10 if I just could have had another one!  Good price at £5.95 too.

Bayou Fruit Cup (centre): Tall cocktails are just the epitome of summer time and I may have just found something to challenge the classic Pimm’s. Berries, Southern Comfort, Martini and topped up with Ginger Ale. OH MY DAYS it was good. Like summer in a glass! Also a bargain at £5.95

Grasshopper (left): I have had these before. A big must for fans of mint Aero’s and the like. It consists of Chocolate and Mint Liqueur shaken with Cream. So naughty but SO GOOD! Once again, £5.95 a glass.

All in all, a GREAT afternoon of cocktailing. Alchemist, you will be seeing me again soon!

Check out the rest of The Alchemists cocktail menu here.

Nostalgia In Leeds

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Heeeeey!

In a few of my previous entries I have recalled certain venues and places which remind me of my teenage years but there is really only one city which sums up my young princess years – Leeds.

(BTW: When pronouncing Leeds, try and say it in a short, snappy kind of way with a reeeally deep voice with an emphasis on the LE. Leeds, say it again Leeds – Good job!)

So yes Leeds was the first city where I was allowed to go shopping with my Girlfriend’s for the first time. We would get the train, hang around outside the Corn Exchange for a few hours looking super cool (An action that young people still do as it happens – Note to self, they don’t look cool, they look cold and miserable) then we would head to a pub for the remainder of the afternoon.

I have a few friends who went to Uni in Leeds, so we decided to head up to see what the students of 2012 are up to, we hadn’t been for a good 12/13 months and we felt like we were missing out – on what exactly I’m not sure…but oh well. Next stop Leeds!

All the decent pre-club bars in Leeds are about a 10 minute walk away from the train station heading up towards The Light shopping/cinema complex. You have your usual suspects, Wetherspoons, Yates, Woo Woo, and of course what city would be without a Varsity and an Oceana! OOOP and would you look at that, the two just happen to be next to each other. Now that’s what you call convenient!

I tell you what – Varsity has sure changed since the last time we were there. 100% changed for the better, it looked completely different. Loved the different types of lamps over the bar and the leather chairs round a fireplace. Fixed seating had been put on a new terrace and a new dance floor had been put in at the back of the pub.

I liked that there were several different areas, each had a different feel to it and I could get a big group of mates together in one area or have a quiet dinner/drinks with one person in another.

Hands down, my favourite part of the referb is the addition of (what I now call) The Lipstick Bar in the girls toilets. It’s perfect for doing a few touch-ups and the likes.

I ordered a southern fried chicken wrap (minus the chips) which was very yummy, as was the glass of Rose Pinot Grio I washed it down with. Great promotions actually – buy two large glasses and get the rest of the bottle for free. I think that’s a pretty good deal when you spilt the rest of the bottle between two people.  The staff were really attentive and smiley which was a nice change from the grumpy faces from the others on the strip – step it up guys cuz Varsity sure have!

We had a few more drinks before moving on to Oceana, the plan was to move on to another bar but to be honest, we didn’t need to. It was comfy, with good prices and great music too.

Scores on the (royal) doors: 

Food and service:  Service with a smile.
Atmosphere and decoration:  Great new décor, really brought it up to date and stood out in comparison to the other bars in that area
Facilities:  Beautifully clean and pretty!
Talent Radar:  Perhaps…….
Fun Factor: Great to re-visit Varsity and catch up with friends
Perfect for: Pre-clubbing, cheap food,  large parties, small parties too!
In 3 words: Var-Sit-eyyyyy

The Graduate, York

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The Graduate York

On the way back from my Newcastle/Sunderland jaunt I decided to stop over in York. No particular reason, just fancied seeing what was happening in York! My mum and I used to always go to York around Christmas time to do present shopping and Party Dress Shopping, a tradition which we still carry out now. York also brings back great memories of our annual primary school trip to the York Transport Museum and Yorvik day out. For anyone who hasn’t been to Yorkvik, its brilliant – overpriced yes but very educational – if the Vikings float your boat.

After a day of burning through my wages, I needed a place to relax. I have a reputation for being notoriously picky when it comes to finding a decent bar, though I don’t see it like that. I like somewhere clean, with a good atmosphere, good music, reasonable prices and a high potential of good eye candy!
After walking past the same old, Wetherspoons, Yates, Revolution, blah blah blah, I was getting bored and about to give up and just go back to my hotel when I fell across a really cool old bank style building called The Graduate. The music coming from inside sounded good and the decoration looked good from looking inside through a window. Funny side story actually, the window I looked through looked onto a booth style table and my friend from college’s sister was sat at the table, I waved, she didn’t recognise me and I felt really really stupid!


Back to the Graduate. I was walking around trying to find a seat but it just kept going. I would turn a corner and there would be another room, another book, another snug type room, another cluster of sofas and finally I discovered an outside beer garden. The whole bar was immaculately kept and brightly decorated. The pictures say it all really.

There were references to The Graduate the film all the way through the bar, a film poster here, a film shot here. Really cool, it had me singing “Mrs Robinson” before I knew it.

Really nice to have table service all night, I didn’t have to get up once!

It just so happened that the bar was the first on the Carnage Pub Crawl. For those who don’t know Carnage, it is a University based pub crawl that takes place all over the country. People buy the T-shirt with the pub route and have to tick off certain challenges whilst dressed in the theme of the night which in this example was Cops and Robbers. Once again, some great photos.

Scores on the (royal) doors: 

Food and service:  Very attentive table service.
Atmosphere and decoration:  Very impressive, funky and very unique.
Facilities:  Spotless, so well kept, the staff deserve a big thumbs up.
Talent Radar:  A few robbers stole my heart! HA!
Fun Factor: Has the potential to be a massive party hot spot!
Perfect for: Food, beer garden, group bookings, small groups, pizza party
In 3 words: GO THERE NOW!

Walking in a Wunder Sunderland Part Two!

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Hey

So hopefully you have read my previous blog as this one follows on straight from it. If not, I’ll give you a short run down.  I’ve been to Newcastle, then decided to pop up to Sunderland to see what’s goin’ on. So far I’ve been to Chesters on Chester Rd for a bit of dinner and now we are moving on and ready to paint the town! We all up to speed? GOOOOOOD!

So next stop was Chaplins, on the corner of Stockton Road. This pub had a great old fashion feel to it. Very welcoming, warm and a nice row of regulars round the bar. I had the great honour of having a pint and chat with the bar’s oldest regular. For 49 years he has been coming to Chaplins for his weekly pint! 49 YEARS, that’s nuts!!

Gotta' love the locals! x

Great decor

I wouldn’t say Chaplins is a pub for pre-clubbers however I would really recommend it for anyone wanting a pint while watching the game (the pub has 4 different screens) or some good Sunday dinner. The mix grill looked pretty yummy. I came out of this pub feeling all warm and fluffy, like I had been given a big hug (that sounds weird but I’ll explain) The customers and the staff were both so lovely. If I wasn’t up my eye balls in foundation and wearing mile high heels I would have totally stayed!

Scores on the (royal) doors:  

Food and service:  very promising
Atmosphere and decoration:  loved the wine bottle display. It almost rivals my own!
Facilities:  Full length mirrors always get thumbs up
Talent Radar:  Not really my type
Fun Factor: Fun little stop
Perfect for: Watching the game, dinner time, drinks with the lads
In 3 words: Bright bubble (of) Happiness!

Next stop on to The Ivy House

When we were hunting around for good pubs to go to, The Ivy House came up a few times. One for its live music, two for its pool and three because it had a great indie music bar theme to it. How can you say no to that!

Most of my friends are smokers (naughty naughty guys, tut tut) so I was forced to sit in the cold beer garden which – to be fair was really cute – filled with fairy lights and posters. Loved the posters round the bar and rocked up just in time to hear the band play their first song.
I Heart Beer Garden

I’m RUBBISH at pool but decided to flaunt my…erm…”skills” with a nice group of boys and alas lost, terribly, but I meant to do that – clearly!

Scores on the (royal) doors:  

Food and service:  Pub doesn’t serve food
Atmosphere and decoration:  heavy music theme.
Facilities: great beer garden and pool tables
Talent Radar:  A few floppy haired fitties
Fun Factor: losing to pool is always a fun experience!
Perfect for: Chilling out with a good track, Cheeky JD and Coke in the Sun, live music
In 3 words: Quirky, relaxed atmosphere.

Next stop Varsity Sunderland. As usual Varsity NEVER cease to show me a good time. The crowd was a little older than the other Varsity’s I have been to in the past. I bagged a hottie though. (Massive joke, let’s not annoy the Boyf!) We stayed in Varsity, dancing the night away till the wee early hours of the morning!

I had a great time in Sunderland and feel we picked the best pubs Sunderland had to offer. Do challenge me though if you don’t believe me!

xxPP

Leicester, Take Two…ACTION!

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Huzzah dear readers! x

Given that my last jaunt to Leicester was so fantastically awesome, it would be incredibly rude of me to turn down an invitation to hang with those crazy Leicester students again. This time my invitation was from the second Varsity on London road.

Expecting a heavy night, I packed my berocca, my heels and a toothbrush and whizzed up to Leicester. Talk about timing, it would so happen that my visit coincided with the end of exam celebrations, I couldn’t have asked for a better excuse to round up the students of Leicester and De Montfort, and boy were these guys ready to party!

Even at 12pm, hoards of relived, blurry eyed and smiley student piled through the doors of Varsity looking for food and most importantly…booooze! The J-bombs started to flow and even got a cheeky few passed my way. Yes I know 1pm is a little early to start but, whilst in Rome an’ all! An army of burgers and curly fries made their way out of the kitchen to feed the students.

I got talking to one very lively (to put it lightly) group of chemists. Well, one thing leads to another and I ended up challenging one boy to a Man Vs (Varsity) Food!

Mission (Should you choose to accept it) “Consume a Dirty Dogs Dinner in less than 5 minutes, with your hands tied behind your back!”

Granted, that doesn’t sound too bad, well hang on and let me explain what the Dirty Dogs Dinner actually is. Imagine a mountain of sausages, a big pile of chips smothered in Heinz Baked Beans and smoked bacon pieces, all served in….(wait for it) an actual steel dog bowl! Doesn’t that sound beautifully glamorous! Unsurprisingly it wasn’t! Seeing the poor bloke bobbing his head in and out of the dog bowl, we didn’t think to cut up his sausages beforehand which made watching the whole gut busting experience a little gross. Soon he had the whole bar including the staff cheering him along and he managed the dish in 5.30 minutes, so close, dang and blast!
Surprisingly, I lost my appetite for lunch and dinner!

"Hi Im Jonny Knoxville and Welcome to Man Vs Food!

On to the nightlife! Shots, J-bombs, pints, glasses of wine and bottles all £1! The Varsity Pound Party had begun. The tunes were rolling out and the crowds were rolling in to join in the party. The upstairs section of the bar had been booked out for an international students party and the downstairs was split between the cool kids at the back of the bar on the sofas playing pool and the rest of the nutters throwing out some choice moves on the dance floors.

I couldn’t have a night out in Leicester without visiting my buddies over at The Reynard and Varsity on Friar Road. (Read my previous Leicester blog here) I met my future Party Prince, Jef (DJOneEf), and sat and had a nice drink with the guy at The Reynard who told me about the success of their own student social parties on Wednesday, do I hear another invitation?! I think so!!

Scores on the (royal) doors: 

Food and service: Doggie-licious?! I did actually share a dirty dog bowl, and with proper cutlery, it’s pretty darn good!
Atmosphere and decoration:  Big and airy, mixture of sofas and booths along the side.
Facilities: HUGE girl’s bathroom!
Talent Radar:  If you love chemists with a face full of beans, then YES!
Fun Factor: As always, Leicester rocks it.
Perfect for: Filling your tummy and rocking out on the dance floor.
In 3 words: Student hang out.

Read other reviews for Varsity London Road here at View Leicester, Inapub.co.uk, BBC.co.uk and Qype

See you on Friday for my Newcastle/Sunderland Tour Part 1 through 3