Bar Review – Rev JW Simpson, London

Monday nights are perfect for cocktails.  The prospect of booze and friends lessens the effect of the start of the week blues, and bars tend to be quiet, so you stand a better chance of bagging a table (although it’s worth noting this bar does take reservations – praise be for this rarity).


Boulevardier Sour Cocktail

The bar’s peeling wallpaper might raise an eyebrow, but there’s a great story behind it.  As the owners were demolishing the basement to create the bar, they discovered an apartment that had been occupied by the Rev JW Simpson, and decided to keep it exactly as they found it, using some of the Rev’s discarded possessions as décor.  The addition of comfortable long sofas curling around the sides of the room makes it perfect for groups.

The cocktail list is lengthy enough to provide choice for the fussy, but short enough not to overwhelm the indecisive.  Bar staff are good at providing suggestions, based on a short interrogation of your likes and dislikes, and will also go off-piste and create cocktails for you (I suspect perhaps not when they’re at capacity, so an excellent reason to go on a Monday).  Our bartender created an excellent Boulevardier sour, although everything we tried was well executed, with nice use of unexpected ingredients (Izakaya Blues, a Bourbon based sour with plum wine featured wasabi – enough to give it a mild kick, not enough to make you wonder where the sushi was).   A couple of menu choices were off limits, as many of the cocktails use fresh ingredients, so when they’re gone, they’re gone.  All the more reason to return, so I can try the Gentleman’s Symphony – Bourbon, shaken with truffle and homemade fig and shrub bitters.

I confess, I loved Rev JW Simpson.  And I got through this entire review without making a bad pun about holy spirits.  Almost.

Average cocktail price – £10

Location – Goodge St

Website –

Reservations – Yes

Best for – Groups, couples, sinners, saints

Slow Rating – 8/10

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