When a Caribbean restaurant in Brixton is replaced by a funky new cocktail bar, you know the area is in the grip of change. One of the new kids on the block around Coldharbour Lane is The Shrub and Shutter; like a cocktail culture outreach programme from the capital’s wealthier areas, it’s bringing the latest trend in booze consumption to the masses cowering in the shadow of the fearsome Barrier Block. Whatever your thoughts on the creeping hold of gentrification, what isn’t improved by a good cocktail?
And these are very good cocktails, the founding team of Chris Edwards and Dave Tregenza (Salts of the Earth) have 25 years’ experience in the industry between them. They are pitching this place at the young crowd, and as well as lively levels of hip-hop, some cocktails come with an entertaining little bonus to keep the customers amused, such as the make-your-own paper aeroplane kit that lands with the Autopilot. It’s clear that a lot of time and effort goes into the whole experience here, as evinced by shelves full of home-made spirits and offbeat snack selections that complement the drinks menu. The venue is divided in two by virtue of its floor plan, with the bartender action happening in the front, and the greater space available in the rear room.