Joyeux Bordel; roughly translated as ‘Happy Mess’ is somewhat a juxta for the Curtain Road bar. In absolute 1920’s splendour, JB is a happy place to be, but a mess? We beg to differ. After much deliberation over (rather strong) cocktails we deciphered the ‘mess’ element must be to do with the state in which you walk out! A polite mess of course…
Opening in spring and perhaps in hindsight not appropriately, JB is cosy, intimate and moderate in size despite the grandeur of the décor. We tucked ourselves in a corner on a low sofa, above us dimly lit lighting exposing the walls deep hues of blue and green that instantly calmed the angst of the storm we’d endured on our commute over. I’ve since discovered these particular shades are associated with harmony and heaven. The floor is lined with Victorian carpet; leather stools stand against an oak bar and complete your journey in to another era. Music jives with afro, funk, hip-hop and soul. We’re told the DJ booth does not get dusty however we weren’t graced with vinyl the night we visited. Still, the genres were on point.
The menu placates any troubles that may have been lurking; classic cocktails with a ‘twist’ spruce your mood. It’s easy to spend your time deliberating over sweet or sour, bitter or mild, or tall or short! Our decision eventually flourished in to a Tommy’s cut and Buttered Old Fashioned. The Tommy’s Cut is one for the Mezcal fans, served with agave syrup, lime, vermouth and pink grapefruit it’s an acquired taste and not for the faint hearted. The Buttered Old Fashioned is an old staple with a kick of young coconut water syrup. Both tipples unexpectedly excite the mind.
The menu boasts a small selection of nibbles to soak up the nights regrets before they arise. Roasted Ham is served with sourdough and piccalilli and the Androuet three cheese plates made for interesting dreams. Other meat and cheese plates were available and all reasonably priced considering the size, sharing two plates between four would suffice.
For variety, we moved on to Bric-a-Brac and a Saint Germain Des Pres, both beautifully laced with elderflower cordial, a double order of sweet toothed intimacy, something that usually is ‘not so much to my taste’, I denied the waitress my truth whilst sipping to nirvana. We reverted to the menu’s stalwart Tommy’s cut; pink grapefruit saw us through to the bitter end.
Alongside the mesmerising cocktails, champagne did flow. To think up above were the bustling streets of East London wasn’t easy to adjust to, a real time-hop into a by-gone era and a real transformation from its predecessor, Plastic People. If it’s date night, a gathering of friends or a meeting of minds, JB is bliss to all.
147 Curtain Road, London, EC2A 3QE