Tucked away underneath the basement of Antico restaurant lays 214 Bermondsey Gin bar. Opened for over 18 months with a soft launch in April, 214 Bermondsey specialises in gin cocktails. I’ve been told the tonic water took a while to perfect. As with the food from Antico is made on premises upstairs, Nick Crispini the owner wanted to create their own tonic water.
“No two gins are the same so to enhance their unique flavours we have created ‘214 Tonic’ water after finding that the addition of this to any gin transforms a classic G&T,” said Nick Crispini.
Descending downstairs into the underground basement bar, you are greeted with a friendly bar manager and team, dim lighting, brickwork and large leather chairs and stools. Perfect way to unwind in the evening.
Whether you’re a gin lover or novice, there are over 50 brands on offer, from the traditional London drys, Scottish, American dry’s, maritime and many others. You’re spoilt for choices.
The very first thing my friend and I tried was the gin cocktails, I was recommended the “214 Collins” the classic gin cocktail. Hammer Gin is mixed with lemon juice, Campari & sugar & is then stirred over soda & ice. It had a lot of citrus notes, and at first it left a bitter aftertaste, but half way through the drink I started to enjoy it. Most of the gin cocktails range from £6-10.
My friend “V” went for “Raspberry and tonic” Martin Miller’s gin is shaken with raspberry purée, lemon juice, sugar & 214’s tonic water.
Up next was the fun part of the night. Ever thought you were a gin connoisseur? Then take up the gin flight challenge, were you blind test 3 different gins with the 214’s house tonic.
The gin flights fall under a few categories, once they arrive an enveloped sealed with a red candle wax is presented with the 3 Gin and tonics. We choose “The London tour” and “The international”, with only the menu with a list of the gins and their tasting notes to guide you.
Priced from £12-15 this makes it a fun interactive way to share drinks and have a taster of gin’s you never tried. “V” and I correctly guessed 3/3 for “London tour” flights. I really enjoyed the gin from “the international” “Gin Mare” from Spain botanicals flavours of bitter orange and thyme stood out. 214’s tonic water suited the Gin’s and brought out the distinctive flavours very well.
After our drinks it was time to soak up the alcohol with some food, on the blackboard bar snacks on offer from £3, antipasto from £7 and bigger plates from £10 onwards. Both the bread and pasta was impressive, with full on flavours. We both went for pastas; it was absolutely delicious, freshly made on premises from Antico kitchens.
I will undoubtedly return for more gin and tonics, intimate dates and cosy catch up with friends and contemporary Italian dishes.
214 Bermondsey St, London, SE1 3TQ