How good are you with your rum? Do you love it? Hate it? Are indifferent? If you are like me, my only connection to rum is that I love the Pirates of the Caribbean (Yo ho, yo ho, a pirate’s life for me)! Don’t get me wrong, I love a mean piña colada, a mojito or a mai tai (can summer come already?!?), but in no means am I a rum connoiseur! I only know that the above three cocktails are made from white rum, but this is it. So, colour me intrigued when a friend invited us to a rum bar – just off Oxford Street – to celebrate her birthday! 200 rums from all over the world make Burlock a fantastic bar to go and discover rum cocktails and varieties. Just sit back and enjoy!
Her birthday celebration was on a Friday after 9.30, which was way better than going out on a Saturday when everyone has the same idea of spending their evening. Burlock is a small bar; in fact, it is advertised as a rum room on their website! I didn’t mind it though, as size is irrelevant (obviously not in all cases, people! Only when restaurants and bars are considered). It is a short walk from Bond Street Station, so you can safely wear your high heels and after you enter, you have to take the stairs down to the bar. The walls around the staircase are painted green, with a rope hanging on the handrail, giving you the impression of a Caribbean hideout. The doors to the bar reminded me of a ship’s doors, but I may be wrong. Don’t quote me on that!
The main floor looks great! Lights turned on low, few tables scattered around, quirky light fixtures and an industrial feel that clashes with the overall atmosphere in an interesting way. By taking away that first impression about the bar, you will notice the boards on the wall with the types of rum from all over the world and this is where our table was! I think my friend managed to get the best spot on the house, as we were seated between the bar and the DJ, but quite out of the way, so the comings and goings of the staff and patrons alike didn’t bother us in the slightest! Plus I could explore the rums on the boards (and play a game of geography to my heart’s content).
Following the theme of “rums from all over the world”, you will not be surprised that the cocktail menu arrives in the form of a map! And you know what? This is very interesting to discover cocktails inspired and based on different parts of the North, Central and South America, Africa and Oceania. All the cocktails featured there look (and seem) uber delish, but as I am partial to sweet ones, I was stuck in one: Source D’Argent, which is made from Seychellois rum and named for “one of the most beautiful beaches in the world”. This rum based cocktail contains (almost) all my favourites; vanilla, peach, coconut and cream. Alas it wasn’t meant to be! They had run out and even though the bartender promised to make me something similar, I didn’t want it.
After (again) a brief consultation of the menu, I decided on the next best thing; a Painkiller from the British Virgin Islands! With coconut again, it also has pineapple and orange and hints of nutmeg. My drink was obviously well-made and shaken well, however the Source D’Argent is still my one that got away. Here’s to hoping for a next time! So after I got my painkiller and my boyfriend’s Pear Tree (with pear vodka, cognac and ginger ale), I went straight to our table. I have to say that the table was nice and long, but the stools were an absolute surprise! I do believe that these stools were the most comfortable ever! Now I’ve been to a lot of bars in London and I always tend to go for the sofas, as the stools they have are not soft or comfy. The stools at Burlock though were a whole new experience!
Another thing I noticed was that everyone there was so relaxed and welcoming. From the security people upstairs to the staff in front and behind the bar, our experience was great. We even joked once or twice with a server who came to our table. It would have been nice if we had a server for the table, but I guess the fact that the bar floor is not huge that would make it inconvenient. Something else that is not really a misgiving, rather something that had me intrigued was the food. The chips were tasty, the nachos the same, however the chicken croquettes with the spicy sauce were not my favourite. For a rum bar – or any type of bar really – the finger food was okay; not exceptional, but not bad either!
The only thing that I (haven’t checked with my boyfriend actually) didn’t really like was the music. As I went through the website to get a feel of the place (tell me I’m not the only one who does that!) I had the impression that the music would sound like Caribbean. So, lots of salsa, merengue, drums and maracas; you get my point. The reality though was entirely different. It was all about contemporary music and all the current hits. I don’t know if it was the day or time or if that’s all they play, but it would have been nice if the music was light and with a certain flair. We would have escaped London for the sunny and adventurous Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic or Jamaica!
Overall we had a lot of fun at Burlock and our drinks were so delicious. It was nice catching up with my friends, as I hadn’t seen them in a long while and I honestly missed them! It is such a pity that London is so huge and everyone is so busy. I’d definitely like to visit Burlock again in the future, if only for the Source D’Argent! Haha mainly kidding, but I’d love to try it. Who knows? Maybe I’ll visit Burlock again sooner or later, just to experience happy hour or to try that elusive rum cocktail!
Till next time,