Murder Inc feels a bit like drinking in Hell's Waiting Room. Yes, it's that cool.

(Well, Hell’s Waiting Room is probably quite hot, but you know what we mean.)

You descend the stairs – passing a cardboard Danny Devito, and a neon Highway To Hell sign (see?) – and find yourself in this little joint where the lights are red and the bricks are exposed and Frank Sinatra is crooning away. (Over the speakers, sadly: it’s not literally Hell’s Waiting Room. Anyway, Ol’ Blue Eyes isn’t a man to hang around.)

The walls are covered with an assortment of boxing memorabilia and bric-a-brac; an army of bottles glisten behind the bar.

It’s sinful and sexy and simply divine.

What’s the story?

*Lights cigarette and narrows eyes, James Cagney style.* Listen up, bub. Launched in 2019, Murder Inc is very much a new kid on the cocktail beat but it’s one with impeccable credentials. (We can’t comment on its murdering credentials: tip them shy to find out.) (Don’t do this.)

The bar comes from the good people behind Shoreditch’s Cocktail Trading Company and, as you may have noticed, it very much leans into the whole dive bar vibe. Come back in 50 years and it probably won't have changed one bit. 

What should I drink?

Murder Inc takes life light but its drinks seriously – which is just the way a good cocktail bar should be.

If you want to stay true to the spirit of your surroundings, then you need to knock back whisky, and lots of it. Ideally in the wee small hours of the morning, while toasting the end of a brief episode – one for your baby, one more for the road. In which case you want a Rusty Nail In The Coffin (Ardberg, Drambuie, BBQ’s marmalade vermouth) to ease the memories on their way.

However, Murder Inc has plenty of options for those who don’t want to play Bogart. Allow us to help you into a M’Inc Coat (Bombay Sapphire, Buttered Nettle Cordial, ‘Tarte Tatin’ Sherbet, Egg White), a drink that goes down smoother than a Texan con man, a grating of nutmeg adding that festive touch. Or the ultra-sophisticated Southpaw (Belvedere, Absentroux and 'cool' cordial). 

Designated getaway driver? The bartender will happily whip up a bespoke non-alcoholic option that’s basically the cocktail you’re thirsting for, sans booze. Humpherey will be turning in his grave but at least you won’t be joining him.

Murder Inc – Southpaw

How’s the food? 

Well, you have nachos, or nachos – but what nachos! Murder Inc’s Hubcap Nachos cost £10 and come packing melted Mexican cheese, jalapeños, soured cream, guacamole, and pico de gallo. Feeling carnivorous? Add chorizo for no extra cost. The staff proclaim them ‘best nachos in London’ and we’re certainly not gonna argue the toss. (You can lower the Tommy Guns, guys.)

There are also plates of smoked almonds and olives (both £2.50) if you want something a little lighter on the carbs.

Will it bankrupt me?

Absolutely not. The cocktails are fairly cheap anyway (£8 - £11.50) but if you make the Happy Hour from 4.30pm to 7pm then a selection of drinks go for a frankly criminal £6.

Every base is covered – whisky, gin, rum, even Jaegermeister – and you can knock ‘em back for roughly the cost of a pint at one of the neighbouring pubs. You’ll feel like you’re robbing the joint.

Anything else to note?

Riding solo? No worries: the staff are as friendly as any in London, happy to talk you through the menu or simply shoot the breeze. Every member of the Murder Inc family has their photo and one anecdotal fact on the website, so you even have a ready-made icebreaker (not that you’ll need one).

We were well-looked after by Andy (once used a fire extinguisher to clear a sink blockage) and Luke (once ate a whole jar of maraschino cherries to prove a point). Questionable diet aside, both men's love for this place was palpable, and you'll quickly come to share it. 

Pour ‘em out, chaps.

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For more info, see Murder Inc