Garlic and Shots is on my list of great things to do in London. Possibly my favourite place to go out and hang out for a Friday night drink, and probably the least pretentious of all destinations catering to the gothic heart. They also get extra points for still having my Graffiti in the loo after 7 years #MementoMori.
Garlic and Shots is a Swedish restaurant-come-bar on Frith Street in Soho (also a fun area to explore), with a garlic themed eatery out front, a cramped but cozy beer garden in the back and the so called “Vampire Bar” in the basement.
You can guess which space I love the most, right?
You can even take a Blood shot over a coffin table in the dank dungeon-y arches of the Victorian street beneath Soho, but you must arrive early if you want to secure a spot in the dungeon, it’s prime real estate. Oh, and did I say Bloodshot? Yeah, it’s kind of like a Bloody Mary, but stronger, and drowned in chilli, in a shot glass, forming just one of the 101 shots that they boast on their menu. If you are feeling 100% brave, try the tequila aged in chilli…
My favourite London snack to eat when I’m out comes in the form of their giant chilli garlic bread. There’s even garlic friend haloumi bites, and garlic truffles on the desert menu; surprisingly non-offensive to taste though terribly and perhaps understandably, underrated.
Perhaps my favourite experience here was the time I was paying for my meal with a friend, the owner was behind the bar (a lovely older Swedish gentleman), and when he spoke to me to take my payment he clasped my hands and held them, looked me straight in the eyes and said, “You are welcome here. Your kind are welcome here.”
It may sound cheesy, but it was one of those ‘moments’ in life that tell you who you are was a person is okay, that you are on the right path, and you are valued. Come as you are.
Read #1 of my London Goth Top Ten here!