There was a brashly triumphant atmosphere at opening night in PocketSquare, a new rooftop bar in Whitechapel, East London, close to Aldgate East station, where a DJ played a throbbing electronic fanfare to PocketSquare’s lanch.
It describes itself as “eccentrically local, outrageously striking and an alluring oasis”. I agree with all this without quite knowing what it means. Indeed, it fits with the impeccably dressed hip young people rubbing shoulders (literally – the bar is cosy), one of whom, I’m reliably informed, was on the popular reality TV programme – Love Island, to the backdrop of an excitable but sophisticated hubbub.
PocketSquare offers excellent views over a city famed for its towering skyscrapers. It is undoubtedly a real treat to sip cocktails on a terrace offering a panoramic view of London’s iconic skyline. Thoughtfully placed standing screens allow you to take selfies doing just that.
The menu of eight signature cocktails is mainly gin-based and created at their cocktail Laboratory. Each has a story that relates somehow to East London history and pairs with a selection of bite-sized dishes for a harmonious tasting experience.
For instance, PEPYS GOLD (£16) comprises enemigo tequila, crème de pêches, almond milk and milk. The inspiration comes from cheesemaker Sam Pepys’ experience. In the 1666’s Great Fire of London, Sam Pepys buried his wheels: the round cheeses that like rare wine, were considered as precious as gold. They pair this with Lincolnshire poacher smoked cheese.
This venue is small but ambitious, welcoming while determinedly seeking to create an air of exclusivity (a word that appears on its homepage). PocketSquare is a good choice for anyone looking for a slightly rarefied taste of East London fine drinking and snacking, with prices to match – the “high” life on so many levels (the ninth floor of the Hyatt Place London City East, to be exact). Its style and substance make it a force to be reckoned with amongst an already abundant offering of cool East London hangouts.
Open: Tuesday-Friday 5 pm to midnight; or on Saturday: 3 pm to midnight. Regular DJ bookings run Thursday through Saturday.
PocketSquare Skyline Bar & Terrace 9th floor, Hyatt Place London City East, 45 Whitechapel Road