Open Sun–Thu 11am–11.30pm; Fri–Sat 11am–12.30am
The Portobello Star doesn’t need any signage. Since 1740, this quirky drinking establishment has long been serving locals and travellers alike. The recently renovated bar itself is long and narrow, with a sturdy, handsome, walnut bar behind which lurk the highly-skilled bartenders. The resident DJs are known to crank up the indie and dance tunes giving the space a buzzy, ‘hill vibe.
Upstairs lurks the real secret. Proudly staking its claim as London’s second smallest museum, the Star’s Ginstitute plays host to masterclasses and tasting sessions of the great British spirit. Heavily inspired by old Victorian gin palaces, the ambience is perfectly authentic with wood and glass panelling and is littered with fascinating memorabilia.
On the top floor, The Still Room allows visitors to sample all the components of gin and, under the guidance of the Star’s very own curator and master distiller, you can even blend your own bottle of gin for home consumption.
The bar attracts the young, the hip and the royal. The Ginstitute and its Still Room are still very new but I suspect they will appeal to all gin lovers, stag and hen parties, corporate team building outings and tourists looking for some historical fun.
Food is clearly not the main attraction here but I hear that the award-winning pies from Ginger Pig served at lunchtime are delicious, as is the ploughman’s lunch.
This is the home of heavenly cocktails. Boasting its very own and rather peppery Portobello Road Gin No. 171 as well as an extensive cocktail list, you will not leave thirsty or disappointed.