It’s Dry January! Well for me it’s just a normal month of the year because I don’t drink lol. Still, I thought I’d get into the spirit (pun completely intended) and what better way to do so than visit a bar that sells no alcohol whatsoever – Redemption Bar
Redemption has been praised by all sorts of London reviewers and having seen the angels wings all over Instagram It definitely looked like my kind of place.
Based in Shoreditch, it’s really not all that hard to get to but it’s also worth noting that it’s about a ten minute walk from both Shoreditch High Street station and Old Street.
The “bar” resides in a very nondescript building which if I’m honest looks a lot like some kind of community centre. The only thing giving it an ‘edge’ is the painted angel wings outside. Sadly I was disappointed to see that the wings had graffiti all over them and the promising venture hadn’t kept up with looking after one of it’s attractions. Still, I wasn’t going to let that deter me from going in and seeing what those Time Out 4 stars was all about.
Redemption was a lot smaller than I had expected but I liked what they had done with the space. The interior was ridiculously instagrammable but I couldn’t help notice that it was more of a cafe then a bar. The seating was comfy deep teal chairs and the marble tables along with the neon ‘Redemption’ below the bar all really worked well together.
Once we were seated the waitress handed over the menu and I was really surprised at the contents. I was expecting lots of different mocktails and nibbles but instead there was a selection of smoothies, a handful of non alcoholic cocktails and hot drinks.
The food menu was a selection of healthy food options that were all vegan friendly, dairy and gluten free. If I’m completely honest, I’m not always keen on healthy alternative treats especially when I’ve gone out to eat but it’s a concept I guess. On closer inspection the dessert options did sound really enticing.
My friend and I decided to split a banoffee pie, which was described as “a chewy nutty chocolate base with sticky medjool date salted caramel, bananas and coconut cream”. Delish.
Price wise, I was really surprised to see that the non-alcoholic drinks were £6.50. I mean I get it, it’s the location and a concept cafe but it’s still pretty steep when there’s no alcohol in the drinks. Since it was pretty cold outside and none of the drinks really appealed to me, I decided to order a pot of the recommended ‘Detox Tea’ formulated to detox the lymphatic system – with nettles, cleavers and marigold.
The tea came in a really cute teapot along with a strainer and the banoffee pie looked way way better than I expected. NGL it tasted pretty good too! I’m finally getting into herbal teas so I finished my pot with ease. The food/drinks were winning me over. I’m definitely keen to return and try out the alcohol free cocktails but I would be lying if I said I wouldn’t feel cheated for spending a fiver on fruit juice.
Here’s a sample of the drinks menu (at the time of writing) along with their prices:
apple mockjito £4.95
muddled apple presse, fresh mint and lime, served over crushed ice and topped up with soda water
cranberry, orange, lemon, birch syrup, elderflower cordial and coconut water
raspberry royale £5.50
a delicate fusion of frozen raspberry puree and delicate rose essence topped up with sparkling water
a coconut water, lime and birch syrup ‘frozen margarita’, blitzed with ice and rimmed with Himalayan mountain salt
activated charcoal martini £6.50
toxin-grabbing activated charcoal shaken with fresh lemon and maple syrup and topped with aquafaba
The ambience was pleasant. I mean it was really nice actually but it just wasn’t what I was expecting. I thought the place would be an actual bar, for drinks and an un-intoxicated giggle but it was weirdly relaxed and calm (not a bad thing at all!). It’s more somewhere you can go and have a good natter over some tea or even hold a meeting with clients.
Redemption bar is definitely more of a healthy vegan cafe than a bar. I feel like perhaps I should have done my research because after a quick google search their meta data/Google blurb thingy does actually say “London’s healthiest restaurant & bar. Why should socialising always be at the expense of your health?” Ah. Healthiest restaurant and bar.
In the future I hope they either rebrand to Redemption Cafe or take their business to another level with exciting cocktails, masterclasses and a much more livelier atmosphere as one would expect of…..a bar.
Will I be returning? Perhaps, if I wanted to meet a friend in a quiet place to catch up, sure.
Would I recommend it? I would, but only after making it clear that it’s a healthy vegan cafe.