I did like Bad Sports with its casual Mexi-diner vibe. They’ve taken over the spot that was, I think, either a chippie or a Chinese place and that has had a few different bars in it’s basement on Hackney Road. And the food we got was good, as were the very reasonably-priced cocktails. But I think they’re missing a trick. Firstly, you can’t get the tacos that are made downstairs in the bar, which just seems a bit weird. Secondly, they offer deals on tacos – 1 taco for £4 (I think), 2 for £7 and 3 for a tenner but then they don’t allow you to mix and match! We had finally got our order down – one pork and one beef taco for me, one chicken for my friend, plus a quesadilla, and had to completely rethink when we discovered this policy as I didn’t want three of the same kind. So instead we got two of the pork and a quesadilla and the sweet potato side.
If you’re a vegetarian, you don’t have much choice – mushrooms (again) for you! But the chilli quesadilla is veggie friendly – it is just stuffed full of pickled onion and chilli and was delicious. The sweet potato really is a dish designed for sharing – the huge wedges of it were too much for one person, although it was very tasty.
We’d had a drink downstairs in the bar, waiting for space upstairs and were quite amused that in a ‘sports’ bar the main, large screen only showed sports-related clips from movies, while the smaller screen was where the real sport was shown. There was definitely a dude atmosphere here but not in an intimidating way. I think it’s quite sweet that there exists a cocktail bar where bros can go hang as it doesn’t happen in ‘normal’ ones.
After this we popped over the road to Folklore which was buzzing. We were instantly enamoured by the kitty sleeping behind the bar, ignoring all the drunk people dancing/crashing around. We liked the music – a cool mix of hip hop, until the DJ changed and he decided people were clearly drunk enough for such hits as Journey and Toto’s Africa. Sing-a-long time meant time to split.
And so, for our final destination, we ended with a classy tipple at The Laughing Heart where Mr Buckley’s (RIP) used to be. The place feels completely different, with a cool, sophisticated feel, ideal for a date, and probably a little too low-key for four girls on a Saturday night who were then planning on going up to the sweaty Shacklewell Arms. But we are nothing if not adaptable so we had a glass of wine each before heading to Dalston. Prices are what you would expect from a proper wine bar – i.e. not cheap and they seem quite keen on their organic, ‘cloudy’ wines which don’t look that appetizing but are worth trying. The aromas of cheese were inviting and I wouldn’t mind going back to try their menu. Especially as we all adored the little pull out trays on each table which housed the cutlery. Cute!