GQ Bar of the Week
‘‘From now on, you’re on holiday,’ declares Mahiki’s former global creative director Georgi Radev, as he welcomes you into his latest venture, Laki Kane. Replacing Upper Street’s Be At One, Islington’s latest addition brings the tropics to your doorstep this summer. It may be inconspicuous from the pavement, but step inside into the most impeccably detailed tiki bar in London. Divided into Indonesia, Thailand, the Caribbean and Polynesia, you too can recreate those enviable Instagrams that you’re struggling to escape from. But this is far more than just another tropical gimmick: Laki Kane is the first rum-bar in the world to eschew refined sugar.
On the spectrum of Piña Colada to Old Fashioned, Laki Kane has something for everyone, each with an interesting backstory (if you ask nicely). After polishing off your jackfruit welcome cocktail, try the El Chascon (£12): light and refreshing as it blends Pisco and Gin with the sweet sapodilla fruit, mint and lime, presented in a tiny copper goblet with toppings of popcorn. Don’t be fooled by this small chalice; Radev explains that ‘El Chascon’ loosely translates to ‘great sex.’ Drinks like the Calypso Sour (£11), using durian syrup, may deter some drinkers, but Laki Kane has married strong flavours like this with açai and coconut sugar to appeal to the more delicate palates. You’ll find their menu flooded with ingredients you can’t recall – soursop, cupuaçu – and that’s the point: in London, Laki Kane’s cocktails are entirely unique. The rums change monthly, given that they are almost all made in-house, and to top it all off, you can order straight from your island-named tables, using the push-for-service buttons.
Laki Kane’s biggest selling point, however, lies upstairs. The second floor houses a copper-gilded rum distillery, preparing to host masterclasses for 19 people by the end of this month. In three and a half hours, you can try three cocktails, six rums, a variety of canapés and (if you make it this far) you can take home your very own bottle of spiced dry rum, after being taught to cut sugar canes and distill alcohol yourself. If you enjoyed your personalised rum concoction, it’ll always be ready to purchase again from Laki Kane, where your recipe is stored in their computer systems.