Bottle Bar and Shop: Review

There’s a cocktail revolution taking place in Catford. In an old council office, to be precise. With low-level lighting and simple décor, the Bottle Bar and Shop is an intimate little escape from the roar of the South Circular outside.

Not so long ago, going for a drink around here was as flat as an experience as some of the lager in the tattier traditional boozers. But the Bottle Bar and Shop is the latest in a wave of recent arrivals sparking new life into SE6, such as the Catford Constitutional Club, the Catford Bridge Tavern and Little Nan’s Theatre Saloon.

The Bottle Bar and Shop has a simple proposition – it sells cocktails and infusions, to take home or enjoy in the bar. Founder Xhulio Sina has been making them for 20 years, and as a Catford local, wanted to give something back to his neighbourhood.

He sells a range of classic cocktails, such as negronis, Manhattans, Rob Roys and Long Island Iced Teas. But it’s the infusions which catch the eye, and the bottles are flying off the shelves. One customer spots limoncello on the menu and tells Xhulio he’s taking him back to his summer holidays.

The Christmas in a Bottle infusion – vodka and festive spices, best drunk with lemonade – is a smooth-tasting treat. The winter berry gin also hits the spot.

Xhulio says the idea came from seeing craft beer bottle shops and wine bars, and realising there was a gap in the market to do the same with cocktails.

Beer fans and wine lovers aren’t neglected either. There’s a good range of bottled craft beers on offer – including from South East London brewers Gipsy Hill, Hop Stuff and Brockley Brewery. It’s a solid rather than adventurous selection, but it’s worth noting that the Brockley Brewery beers are a cheaper here than you’ll find them in many places in Brockley itself.

In fact, providing value for money is one off Xhulio’s aims – this tries not to be a hipster rip-off joint, charging £7 a glass for infusions and cocktails.

There’s no food on offer – except a small range of bar snacks (we gave the Nobby’s Nuts a swerve) – but you could pair a visit to the Bottle Bar and Shop with a trip to the legendary Sapporo Ichiban Japanese restaurant, a cherished local favourite a few doors up, to get a real flavour of what Catford is about these days.

‘In the beginning, a year ago, when I told a mate of mine I wanted to do this in Catford, he said “you must be mad,”’ Xhulio explains.

‘I said to him, why? The community here is amazing, the support is amazing.’

There’s more to come in the area too, with council plans for arts-themed pop-ups. The Bottle Bar and Shop is well worth a visit – and the takeaways mean you can take a piece of Catford home with you too.

Bottle Bar and Shop, 2 Catford Broadway, SE6 4SP

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