Central London

Published on April 6th, 2016 | by Gavin


Woodford Reserve @ Oriole Bar, Smithfield

Old Street’s Nightjar is my favourite bar in London, which also makes it my favourite bar in the world by default. When I got the news that they opened a new venue at the end of last year I was keen to take a visit, but alas, circumstances meant that I hadn’t yet made the trip. However that all changed when my good friends at Woodford Reserve invited me down to try their impressive bespoke sharing cocktail on the bar’s menu.

Nightjar is most known for its speakeasy, exclusive feel and Oriole follows a similar theme. The entrance is just as elusive (if not more so) thanks to the discreet entrance located within Smithfield Market and once downstairs, you’re transported to the 1940s complete with mood lighting, jazz soundtrack, and exotic ornaments.

Oriole bar

Not only that, but the menu takes you on a historical tour around the globe featuring cocktails from the Old World, New World, and The Orient. It’s like nothing I’ve ever seen, the level of detail that has gone into the concept behind each drink is nothing short of amazing and must have taken an age to construct.

And that brings me onto the main reason I’m here, the Bayou cocktail made with Woodford Reserve bourbon. This cocktail takes us to the Deep South where life moves slowly, from the leisurely running Mississippi, to the alligators watching and waiting in the murky river. The sharing cocktail comes in an impressive metal jug shaped like a gator head and features Woodford alongside Absinthe treacle, Alligator Pepper (not made from genuine crocodilian) and a host of fresh fruits.


Much like Woodford, this drink is to be enjoyed slowly, savouring every sip. Initially the absinthe dominates the palate, but as you make your way down, the drink becomes more refreshing as the bourbon and fruit begin to come through. Very rarely does a cocktail do Woodford Reserve justice, but Oriole have pulled it off to great effect.

Despite waiting an age to visit, Oriole has lived up to the hype and then some. They’ve taken the winning formula that made Nightjar the fantastic bar it is and lost none of the charm when transferring it to The City.


Oriole, Smithfield Market, East Poultry Ave, EC1A 9LH

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About the Author

Born and raised in Croydon, South London, Gavin is a lover of cocktails, a passionate foodie, and a self-proclaimed ‘dancing god’. A (relatively) normal guy that decided to start blogging about his experiences around the city he loves.

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