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Review: Basement at The Porter

It didn't take too much persuading to convince Henry Heffer to enjoy an evening out at The Porter and share his views with us...read on to find out exactly what Henry thought of the newly refurbished bar.

I can only partially remember the night when the older Porter closed its doors for the last time. Kicking tides of dodgy facial hair, slogan t-shirts and pretentious ideas out into the cold for good. I say partially, for I was among them and had been plied with free back bar booze all night. I had the dodgiest facial hair of them all.

What has risen from the ashes is a four layered tower of vintage wall paper and musky cologne. The bottom level of this is named, ironically, The Basement. This place proves only that the majority of their new clientele wished they could have fitted in with The Porter’s original image.

Despite the massive rebranding, The Basement remains a stone vaulted collection of rooms that has not changed much over the course of the year’s renovation. The new owners have however, employed some recognisable tricks to adapt this hovel.

The bar area has been extended. It is now a mirrored affair with actual living fruit, flanking its sleek mixing stations. The pool tables have been removed and have ingeniously been replaced by more seating. Seating that is still enclosed by dark grey stone walls, but the candle light does soften the blow. The alcoves remain and are just as antisocial as always. More neon lighting is used to great effect, to disguise the age of anyone who enters, to a certain degree. The other degree is taken care of by the alcohol, which is superb.

The cocktails are inventive, but friendly. The bar staff are attractive and pleasant and the DJ was on brand with the music. The digital bongo drum pad was a nice touch. In fact the cocktails were so good i had to try three or four. Even when I tested the Barman with an ambiguous and tricky mixture, he smiled and delivered. This is The Basement’s saving grace. If the Human element is inviting and the Booze delicious, the fans will follow.

I can understand The Porters new direction, even if I am not overly enticed by it. Now that The Nest is up and in full swing, let bygones be bygones. What I would like to see is some truly sensational musical acts (most likely in the form of DJs) grace The Basement. In the meantime, I have no doubt that the new Porter will become a place of business and growth and its clientele will promote and prosper. The Basement will become, in turn, the place to blow off steam. Where the length of your cocktail will reflect the girth of your…wallet.

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