If someone told you there’s a juice bar in Covent Garden that charges you to bring your own bottle of booze to drink in their basement and places a 2-hour limit on your inebriation session, you probably wouldn’t be tempted.
BYOC stands for Bring Your Own Cocktail, and is essentially what I’ve described above, but a lot better.
You bring your chosen poison (as many as you wish) and the experts create the cocktails. You feel like such an insider as you ring the doorbell of an unassuming juice bar whose downstairs drinking den has been decked out to replicate a 1920s speakeasy. With a capacity of just 18 people, the place has a really intimate vibe. In addition, the talented bartenders are well aware of the Great British Need for Alcohol, and as such ensure that you never reach the bottom of your drink without getting a fresh one delivered to your table.
As someone who is genuinely intimidated by some cocktail menus in London (I have been known to google certain ingredients rather than ask the snooty waiter), BYOC actually makes cocktail-drinking an enjoyable experience, as the bartender asks you what sort of flavours you like, whether you want something sweet or strong, and whips up drinks based on your preferences. We added to the fun by bringing along a bottle of salted caramel popcorn flavoured vodka and were amazed that the bartender managed to turn it into actual drinkable (and delicious) cocktails.
Bottom line, BYOC is a very cool twist on the classic “go for drinks” date, and considering the price of a cocktail in London these days, is a cost-effective way of doing what we Brits do best.
Date factor: great for first dates, 100th dates, double dates, mate dates
Price: £25pp for 2-hour session (£5pp for additional 30 minutes)
Getting there: 5-minute walk from Leicester Square and Covent Garden stations, additional locations in Camden (2 minutes from Mornington Crescent station) and Brighton
More info: http://www.byoc.co.uk