In the same vein as not trusting restaurants with pictures of their food runs the unwritten rule that you shouldn't trust an empty bar – on any day, or night, of the week.
No 35 Mackenzie Walk struggles in no such way. Bustling, in the right kind of way, but with plenty of comfortable and modish seating areas to choose from, it's a hub of conversation, great service, good wine, moorish food and seriously good cocktails.
Deceivingly big, its waterfront location makes for stunning views if you fancy a heated outside seat and boasts a cosy-cool interior, which feels both spacious and intimate.
What's the story?
Conceived by Darwin & Wallace, who lay claim to the likes of Clapham's No 32 The Old Town and Pimlico's No 11 Pimlico Road, No 35 is that modern mix of a City all-day hangout that seamlessly transforms into a post-work cocktail bar. In keeping with Canary Wharf's endeavour to rebrand itself as a not-just-for-work district, the spot which officially opened on 29 October also offers weekend breakfasts, long lunches and Sunday roasts. Including a top-of-the-range non-meat roast, which the large majority of London pubs and bars should take note from.
What to drink?
With an impressively big drinks menu, presumably arranged by a spirit-living OCD sufferer, the cocktail choice goes above and beyond. Fancy something Long and Fresh? The Mango Spritz (white port, house-made mango puree & soda) is for you. Or something Short and to the Point? Try the Blood Orange Negroni (Beefeater blood orange gin, campari & cocchi di torino).
Speaking of gin, and to keep all working millenials happy, there's an entire gin menu that offers a range of concoctions. The Chase Pink Grapefruit & Pomelo (Hertfordshire gin, pink grapefruit zest and pink grapefruit rind) comes in a fishbowl the size of your face and packs a crisp and fresh flavour. There's also a winter warmers selection – try the Hot Gin & Gingerbread (Gin with gingerbread tonic). It tastes like mulled ginger beer – and it's delicious.
If you prefer to stay away from anything too strong mid-week, have a crack at the extensive wine menu. The Cabernet Merlot, Kings River 2018 is rich and delicious, and won't leave you checking your bank balance on the tube home.
How's the food?
The food menu is almost as extensive as the drinks, making choosing equally as tough. The grazing menu is really where it's at if you're after some premium snacking food over a bottle of rouge or some hearty cocktails. The cheeseboard, which can start at 3 and go up to 5 kinds of cheese alongside some delicious house chutney, grapes and crackers is a real winner. So too is the artichoke and roasted squash hummus, which comes with warm paratha bread (think warming rhoti) and hazelnut dukkah. Saying that, the choice of bigger dishes is equally impressive.
Will it bankrupt me?
Short answer: no, not even nearly. Everything, alcohol included, is reasonably priced and is a refreshingly affordable note compared to a lot of London drinking spots. Long answer: you may get carried away with how much there is to choose from and clock up a bit of a bill. But que será, será it's well worth it and your taste buds won't regret it.
Anything else to note?
There's a private glass dining room along the back wall of the bar – with sliding doors, so as not to totally isolate your party off from the crowd – which seemed to be a great spot for the office Christmas party that was going on there when my friend and I visited.
29-35 Mackenzie Walk, Canary Wharf, London E14 4PH; no35mackenziewalk.co.uk