Cocktail spot: The Grand Union, Chancery Lane

Key lime martini, jazzy juleps and jager shakes. It was going to be an exciting night.

We had a date with All Star Lanes in Holborn and were looking for a few drinks to welcome in the weekend. So I was rather pleased with myself when I found myself an abundance of unusual boozy concoctions that went past the usual pina coladas and mojitos in Grand Union off Chancery Lane.

There are eight Grand Union bars across central London. And what I love about them is they all have their own unique character but still all resemble each other with their chintzy style and upcycled old-mans-pub feel.

Due to its hidden location on Rolls Passage, the feel you get at Grand Union Chancery Lane early on a Saturday night couldn’t be more different from the after-work rush you get here on a Friday. The crowds seem to be elsewhere after the working week (that, or they arrive later on) but it’s actually quite nice. If you want a few nice and relaxed tipples, you really can’t go wrong with this place.

What we loved:

The pornstar martini – a refreshing, punchy and bubbly mix which went down FAR too well. I hadn’t had one of these for ages so it’s always exciting to watch the bar man take so much care over making them – and the blue flame you get when they light the passion fruit at the end. (it’s the little things, no?)

The peanut butter punch – great things come in small packages here and that definitely applies to the teeny weeny bottle of vodka, amarula, malibu, rum (I think) and peanut butter rolled in one. The mini milk bottle is incredibly cute, as is the red and white striped straw. Again, far too easy to drink, it almost tastes like you could sip on this for breakfast. Dangerous.

The cool oldey-worldy vibe you get here mixed with the new. Bright patterned wallpaper mixed with colonial and old fashioned pictures. It’s all a bit of a crazy mix, but it’s cool.

What we didn’t like so much:

The aperol spritz. I’m blaming my under sophisticated tastebuds (I have to blame something) but this was too bitter for me and was difficult to enjoy. As this isn’t something I would usually drink, I’m putting it down to the fact that aperol and I probably just don’t get on. What I did like though was the lovely bartender who topped it up with more prosecco for me to dampen down the bitter taste. How lovely.

Feeling well and truly in the weekend mood (and with an free Havana straw hat!) we emerged from the subterranean hideaway and made a bee-line for bowling and more boozy shakes at All Star Lanes. Had we stayed longer we could have enjoyed the the lively band who’d dropped in to entertain us – oh well.

We’ll be going back to this place for a weekend cocktail spot. A cool crowd, tick. Friendly staff, tick. Bags of character, tick tick. Hooray for the weekend.

Grand Union, Rolls Passage, London EC4A 1HL