The Handbook
The Handbook

What?  After 12 years of working in venues across London, Brick & Liquor is David Layton’s first solo venture. It’s a local, friendly bar taking inspiration from classic neighbourhood New York bars, but still retaining a cosy, familiar feel.

New? It opened back in October of 2016 and is part of Tooting’s regeneration as a London foodie scene to be reckoned with.

Where? 82 Mitcham Road, Tooting Broadway, SW17 9NG

On the Menu: Brick & Liquor is all about cocktails and sharing food. Cocktails are laid out in the menu based on their strength. Start with the refreshing Capulet’s Garden aka their Bellini made from homemade apple and elderflower puree and Prosecco and steadily work your way through the cocktails until you end up at the rather strong, Side Car Named Desire made from Martell VS cognac, Yellow Chartreuse, lemon juice and homemade pineapple sugar. We’re told the food is designed for sharing, it’s all food just to pick at – nothing you need a knife for, just a fork to pick and graze at as you drink your cocktails. You’ll find the likes of baby back ribs coated in their secret Brick  & Liquor rum and coke glaze; lamb skewers in a Moroccan marinade and cod goujons with match stick fries, minted pea puree and tartare sauce.

First Impressions:  As any bar should be, on a Friday night, Brick & Liquor was bustling. It wasn’t frantic, people weren’t jostling to get to the bar, it was more laid back than that, although it still had a cracking sound track. The team are big on hospitality, for them it’s not just about serving cocktails but really making sure everyone is having a great time, don’t worry they aren’t over attentive, they aren’t going to try and impose on your evening, they just have a passion for cocktails and going out which is infectious.

The Look:  You can tell they’ve taken inspiration from Manhattan bars, it’s got that look of a New York converted warehouse to it – think exposed brick walls, wooden floors, tall tables, copper lighting and brown leather bar stools. It’s simple and slick, but the low light give it’s an intimate feel.

What We Ate: The food was good, not quite on the same par as the cocktails, but for something just to graze on then it’s ideal. Arancini came stuffed with mozzarella and chorizo, ready to be coated in a woody, white truffle mayo. Sirloin steak was marinated in a sweet Teriyaki sauce which had just the right kick to it and you can’t go wrong with the pork belly served in a sweet chilli and sesame seed glaze, with a satisfying crispy skin.

What We Drank: We say What We Drank, the question really should be, what did we not drink? Because the cocktails at Brick & Liquor are good, very good, and with all cocktails £9 or under, it’s not hard to work your way through the list. For a refreshing but punchy cocktail you’ll want the Thyme at the Bar – made from Absolut Blue Vodka, lemon juice, tonic and a homemade sugar and thyme syrup – as we say punchy, but great if you like more savoury cocktails. The Mexican Wave made from Olmeca Altos Plata Tequila, Disaronno, lime juice, grapefruit juice and Crème de Muir is a good one to branch between sweet and strong with just a touch of smokiness. The Banhattan is a must, if you go for one, go for The Banhattan. As the name suggests it’s a take on Manhattan with a chocolate, banana twist – it’s made from Havana 7 Rum, Dolin Vermouth, Angostura bitters and crème de Bananes. We’re told a Salted Caramel Old Fashioned is one of the most popular drinks, it doesn’t have quite the same oomph as a regular Old Fashioned, so if you want to move away from sweet cocktails but aren’t quite ready for the strength of a regular Old Fashioned add in salted caramel et voila. On the menu as the strongest cocktail, worryingly it doesn’t taste that strong it just has that tropical taste from the homemade pineapple sugar and yellow Chartreuse – it’s the Side Car Named Desire. Round off the night with one and then have a big glass of water before bed.

Go With: It’s ideal for a date, given the fact that it’s a bit snug so you can get cosy, but also the music and laid back atmosphere will take away any date nerves – make sure you book ahead, they take bookings via Whatsapp, which is handy. Or, if you don’t have a date to take, then head there when you want to go out for drinks but don’t fancy going out out. It’s open until 2am on Fridays and Saturdays – so plenty of time to get the cocktails in.

Final Word: If you’re into your wine head there for #winewednesdays – not only do you learn about wine, but you also get three glasses for £12. Or for more cocktails, their cocktail club is on Thursday, you not only get to learn about cocktails but can also have a go at making a few too.

Like This? Try These: The Little Bar, Graveney and Meadow, Three Eight Four