“Everyone loves mojitos,” laughs Kamil, the barman, “after all, you’ve got to love a drink invented by pirates.” But this is not necessarily so – the last time I had this drink it nearly put me off for life: white sugar instead of brown and a bushel of mint jammed down my windpipe. Fortunately, these aren’t mistakes Kamil makes. Then again, you wouldn’t expect him to. He’s been part of the next door Leniviec crew for a while (“I chucked in my education, to become a barman,” he confides, “it’s what I love doing”), and they’ve earned a name for cocktails of note.
Making the transition from café to cosmopolitan drinkery, Leniviec have now gone the extra yard – by opening their mojito embassy next door. Set down a steep set of steps, it’s certainly not as stately as the name suggests. On the contrary, this compact basement has a cheerful, dive bar look that works surprisingly well: pics of revolutionaries and a couple of flags. That’s about it in the design stakes, but it doesn’t need much more. After all, drunk people tend to find other ways to occupy their time.
And yes, it’s likely you won’t be leaving walking in a straight line. You can play safe, and stick to classic mojitos, or you could go for their contemporary updates: mango mojito, watermelon, etc. There’s more, as well: daiquiri, Cuba Libre, El Presidente and other Cuban drinks I can’t pronounce, let alone spell. In short, we have a winner. A bar that’s lighthearted in nature but serious about its product – that’s a lethal combination and a cocktail for success.