What They Say
Situated in the heart of Fitzrovia, PINCH is a brand-new bar that combines expertly made cocktails and delicious tapas with an innovative modern take on Ukrainian vodka infusions, bringing a new style of drinking to central London.
In all honesty, it feels a bit strange to review a Ukrainian cocktail bar, knowing what’s currently going on in the owners’ homeland. However, it’s the perfect time to support Ukrainian owned businesses, so I was keen to check out this hidden gem of a cocktail bar on Tottenham Court Road. PINCH’s founders are Yana and Alex, two Ukrainians who met in London 7 years ago and married in 2020. Their wedding included toasts of their traditional family-made nalivka – vodka infused with herbs, berries or roots – and now you can try this unique and flavoursome beverage at PINCH Bar. Serving innovative cocktails alongside those delightfully different vodka infusions and European Style Tapas, this bar is a welcoming haven of hospitality and fantastic cocktails amongst the hustle and bustle of busy Tottenham Court Road.
You can tell from first glance that every single design piece in this small bar has been carefully considered before making it into the room. There’s something a bit ‘New York, industrial’ about the aesthetic, though maximalist detailing makes sure that it also feels cosy and inviting. It’s just my kind of place; visual decadence; something to look at everywhere you turn. One of my favourite elements is that the family-made nalivka – is on display at the bar; a beautiful rainbow of large glass jars; function meets feature. With distressed plaster walls next to patterned tiles, neon signs asking that you ‘Stay Awhile’, art deco style coasters and comfy bench seating, PINCH treads the line between quirky and cool with stylish competence.
The cocktails were great. Really, really great. I started off with a Foamy Strawberry Cheesecake which was exactly like a grown-up glass of melted Haagen Dazs ice cream. And from me, that’s a huge compliment; that ice cream is both my nemesis and my obsession. It even had a cheesecake base topping, which as we all know, is the best bit, so that detail didn’t go unnoticed. My guest had a Smoked Saffron Negroni and I wasn’t sure who won the game of best drink out of the two of us, so I made sure to try both, several times, to check. Outcome; undecided. Will have to return for a rematch. It’s only fair. We tried a sample of the saffron vermouth separately too, and it’s one of the only vermouths I’ve ever tried that I’d have also been happy to have straight on the rocks. Unusual and delicious. My second cocktail was Ze Negroni and again it was flavourful and different but not at the expense of enjoyment. This isn’t a menu that switches out ingredients for the sake of it; flavour is at the forefront of every decision, and it shows.
The food is a good backdrop to the main event of the drinks. My chicken tenders were hearty and crispy and the tomato dipping sauce was the perfect accompaniment. I’m quite fussy about meat, and this was really flavoursome and felt good quality. The hand-cut truffle fries had a generous layer of truffle oil, which isn’t always the case, and the aubergine tapenade rich and flavoursome, though I’d probably have preferred it to be a little saltier (it was veggie, so I was probably missing the anchovies, but my veggie guest thoroughly enjoyed it). The garlic prawns did what they said on the tin, and they came with the exact amount of garlic I enjoy as a self-confessed garlic addict (thank goodness for masks on the tube!).
It’s a mix between the post-work crowd and the night out adventurers. I overhear a conversation in Italian to my left and one in French to my right, and my nosy soundscape feels totally appropriate to the eclectic European vibe of the menu. Everyone is a bit beautiful, which is nice (or the lighting) but in a relaxed and happy way. The friendly and knowledgeable staff definitely add to the atmosphere,
In a Nutshell
PINCH is a really enjoyable night out, and I’d absolutely love go back and diligently work my way through the cocktail menu. And better still, 15% of their profits are currently going to British Ukrainian Aid. I urge you to go along and check out this fabulous venue and also support a really important cause.
PINCH, 9-11 Tottenham Street, London, W1T 2AQ
020 819 44886