Homeboy in a nutshell
Classic cocktails get a Gaelic makeover in this laidback neighbourhood bar.
Where is it?
Islington, a five-minute walk from Essex Road station.
What’s the vibe?
The first bar from duo Aaron Wall and Ciarán Smith (Callooh Callay, The Dorchester and Waldorf Astoria NYC), Homeboy is a winning cross between a classic Irish boozer and modern cocktail joint. A front seating area comes with green walls and quilted banquettes, low-slung stools and a carved wooden mantelpiece, while further back pendant lamps hang over a sleek black and white chequered bar. There’s slinky R&B on the speakers, and staff are charmingly friendly.
What’s the drinks menu like?
Classic cocktails are given a Hibernian twist, with an emphasis on Irish whiskey (expect producers such as Redbreast, Teeling and Roe & Coe). Beers on draft include Chieftain IPA, Hop House and, of course, Guinness – the latter perfectly poured and not too cold on our visit. If you’re looking for a chaser to your pint then check out the bar’s roster of boilermakers. Click here to learn more about different types of whiskey.
Which cocktails to order?
Drinks are playful while still delivering on flavour. The Wogan – Homeboy’s take on a daiquiri – showcases whiskey’s lighter side in a tartly sharp, elegant concoction of Teeling Small batch, apricot brandy, lime, sugar and saline.
Negroni and El Presidente lovers should make a beeline for the punchy, nicely blended Taoiseach: Redbreast 12-year-old whiskey with Cointreau, Martini Rosso, pomegranate syrup, Angostura bitters and orange.
Don’t miss out on the excellent Irish coffee, which uses Dead Rabbit whiskey along with coffee cream, demerara syrup and coffee bitters for a sumptuous and velvety drink.
Is there any food?
Bar snacks are refreshingly unpretentious (and stomach-lining): expect the likes of Irish stew, poutine, chilli fries, retro toasties and Tayto crisp sandwiches (or even Frazzles, if you ask nicely).
Insider tip: Head to the back of the bar to discover a tiny traditional Irish pub behind a mirrored door.
Where to go nearby for dinner: Visit Smokehouse, an eight-minute walk away, for smoked and grilled dishes.
Price: From £8 for a cocktail.