Rotary Bar & Diner, Shoreditch

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  • Gourmet fast food? Yes, it’s still a ‘thing’. And so are late-night killer cocktails at East London’s coolest new haunt. If only it wasn’t a pop-up…

    Right. It’s only open for ten months, so whether you’re London-based or just visiting friends, you’ve got until the end of the year to get yourself down to Rotary Bar & Diner for a stiff martini and a side of buttermilk chicken wings. ‘But there are gazillions of trendy bars opening every week in ‘pop-up’ central’, we hear you cry, ‘what makes Rotary so special?’ Listen up.

    First off, it comes from the peeps behind super-chic Soho institution Milk & Honey and vintage-style hidden Shoreditch bar Danger of Death. And with a similar philosophy – attention to detail in the ambient interior design and a simple idea (US style food, cocktails and craft beers) done very well – it doesn’t disappoint.

    The spacious yet bustling ground floor diner serves up a menu boasting fish tacos, chicken rolls and mammoth burgers but if you just want to prop yourself up at the bar with a pint-sized cocktail (super size me? Yes, please), there are some inventive bar snacks like crackled scallops and maple pea fritters.

    If you really want to get the party started, the Rotary Room downstairs is a dream (if dreams were curated by David Lynch, that is). The roomy, carpeted chairs, 1960s rosewood furniture and dizzying patterns lining the floor all contribute to its very cool vibe. And with a 4am license on Friday and Saturdays, you will not know where the time’s gone…

    What we also love about Rotary is that it’s a platform for other up and coming businesses – street fooders Yum Bun have their own shop to sell their famous pork buns all day next to the bar. And they’re perfect for popping in for lunch if you work in the area.

    So why only ten months when their other places like Milk & Honey are permanent? That’s because of the location. The city block where the bar is located by Old Street roundabout is due to be demolished and redeveloped, so it was never intended to be permanent. Let’s just hope it can be reincarnated in some form at a later date. We would certainly be first at the door. 

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