It feels like everyone in the City is at Eastcheap Records: a queue is forming despite the cold, and dynamic music seeps through the doors into the street. It’s not yet 7pm. As we know, London takes the festive season very seriously.
We enter and the lighting is amber and moody, small crowds are gathered around low tables, and, living up to its name, hundreds of vintage records adorn the walls – no really, hundreds. Maybe even thousands.
Two years after opening in December 2019, Eastcheap Records continues to set itself apart from legendary older siblings – Old Street, Venn and Northcote Records – with a diverse and eclectic line-up of live-music acts. Tonight, it’s soul.
Before 8pm, when the live music usually starts, you probably won’t be overly impressed by the slightly too loud, sing-along-able hits – don’t come to Eastcheap Records if you’re looking for a quiet one. That is, unless, you’ve already drank enough to be ready to sing, even dance, along. No judgement here.
There are two bars in Eastcheap Records – the main one with a stage and more floorspace for dancing, and another, slightly more intimate space at the back, with more seating and even moodier lighting. We sit on a cosy leather sofa in the latter, and pick up the menu.
What to drink?
With a whopping 20 cocktails on offer, you’ll be spoiled for choice at Eastcheap Records. There’s a broad range, so you’ll find something to your taste, whether that’s sweet, bitter or even spicy.
If you like the classics, the bar has you covered: Porn Star Martini, Daquiri, Mojito, Old Fashioned and Espresso Martini are all on offer, alongside more unique options like What’s Poppin’ (Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Honey, popcorn, egg) and Sour Records (Jack Daniel’s Tennessee whiskey, pistachio, lemon, egg white).
The tall drinks are refreshing with a familiar kick. Try Blushing Bae – Patron Silver Tequila, watermelon, raspberry, lime and soda – for a sweet but refreshing treat. If you’re lucky, you’ll also get a watermelon sweet on top.
If you like spicy drinks, or you’re looking to taste something new, try Picanto, a new addition to Eastcheap Records’ menu as of November. With El Jimador Blanco tequila, agave, cucumber, chilli and lime, it’s a deliciously strong, short number with a spicy kick that’ll transport you to Mexico.
If you’re not cocktail inclined, there’s also a decent range of beers, wines, hard seltzer and prosecco on offer, all fairly priced for a City spot.
What to eat?
Ordering food at Eastcheap Records on a Saturday night like we did, you’ll catch the excited eyes of surrounding punters who didn’t realise pizza was an option.
"How much was your pizza?" one man asks me. "What flavour did you get? It looks delicious." It was.
With five pizza flavours available, this bar does food right: minimal options to great effect. We tried the Parmigiana (pesto, fior di latte, roasted aubergine, garlic) and Quattro Stagioni (fior di latte, prosciutto, artichoke, mushrooms, olives), and were impressed by both. The pizza is well-baked, seasoned, and generously sized, and there is crucially a very good dough-to-topping ratio.
From the classic Margherita to the spicy Diavola Nduja, there’s something for everyone, including vegetarian options on the menu and vegan options available upon request. The staff are accommodating enough to adjust the pizzas on offer if you ask nicely (we, two vegetarians, took the prosciutto off the Quattro Stagioni).
If you’re not up for pizza, Eastcheap Records have just launched a new menu of nine small plates, featuring classic Buttermilk Chicken and Pulled Pork Sliders alongside exciting vegan options, Cauliflower Hot Wings and Charred Corn.
Will it bankrupt me?
As well as the live music – which starts promptly at 8 pm and has everyone dancing – Eastcheap Records’ reasonably priced cocktails are the venue’s real draw. 18 of the 20 cocktails come in at £10.50, with only the Porn Star Martini bumped up to £12 and the Heartbreaker priced at £14.
The rest of the bar’s drinks are also fairly priced for a City spot, but you will be most surprised by the reasonable pizza prices, starting at £7 for a Margherita and peaking at £9 for the Quattro Stagioni.
The new small plates have more characteristic City prices, priced from £8 to £11 per plate.
Anything else to note?
There’s a free cloakroom downstairs, so take off your jacket and boogie along to live music on the dancefloor. (Covid permitting, of course.)
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20 Eastcheap, London EC3M 1EB; Eastcheap Records