As quirky bars go, you will be hard-pressed to find many that beats the Natural Philosopher; it is a concealed drinking den by night that is a vintage-style Mac repair shop in the daytime. Think geeky Clark Kent by day and drinking superhero by night. They have launched a series of special nights recently: bourbon and blues evening every Wednesday with live blues music all evening and bloody Marys and board games Sundays. It is with in close walking distance to Columbia flower market, so I would suggest picking up some bargains just before the flower market closes on a Sunday and then head to the Natural Philosopher for a well deserved cocktail break.
There are very few tables on the ground floor and you are surrounded by antique knick knacks that would not look out-of-place in your grandfather’s house. They are old-fashioned phones, vintage keyboards and computer parts of all descriptions.
The main bar area is equally littered with quirky charms. The sunken bar is an unusual design, the bar shelf is beautifully elegant and you do wish it was genuinely hidden behind a painting which opens up at the press of a button. The well-polished lamp shades and the vintage books add to the secret drinking den vibe of the venue.
They have all the classic board games here from monopoly to cluedo and pretty soon you will realise cocktail and board game matching is just as entertaining as food and wine matching. We opted for monopoly matched with Zabarella and Cartesian. The Cartesian is a fruity concoction of Champagne with kiwi, cucumber and lychee juice; which felt more Mayfair than Hackney. The Zabarella had an interesting mix of the sweet and savoury, as it had home-made cardamom infused tequila as well as vanilla infused sugar syrup with lime and pomegranate juice.
The Natural Philosopher clearly enjoys offering contrasting tastes as the following cocktail we tried, Occam’s Razor was also a savoury cocktail which had a hint of sweetness being a rum cocktail with smoked pineapple and black peppercorn. However, the main reason for coming was to enjoy a bloody derby (similar to a bloody mary but using bourbon instead of vodka). The spicy, punchy taste reminded me why it is an ever popular hangover cure and definitely sharpened my senses before a challenging game of property hunting on the monopoly board.
There are no reasons to say Sunday and Wednesday nights are monotonous anymore, when you can head to the Natural Philosopher for a night of cocktails and entertainment.