After opening nearly a year and a half ago in Shoreditch in east London, Scout quickly became one of the most talked-about bars in Britain, if not the world. Founded by bartender and consultant Matt Whiley, it gained accolades for its inventive cocktails, created using seasonal produce from the British Isles with sustainability at its heart. It quickly went on to win awards and nominations including the final shortlist for best new international bar in this year’s Spirited Awards at the Tales of the Cocktail festival in New Orleans. It was ranked 81st globally in the World’s 50 Best Bars league table last year, with no doubt that it will remain high on the next list when it is announced in early October.
However, Matt has been lured away from Great Eastern Street on Shoreditch’s well-worn bar circuit to move north to the more up-and-coming location of Hackney. This month, he revealed the next incarnation of Scout in its new bigger venue in Graham Road close to Hackney Central station, close to other bars such as Every Cloud and Oslo. The furniture and bar fittings have been brought over and re-configured, and 12 of the cocktails on the list remain the same but, thanks to the larger space, it has a slightly larger capacity with 40 covers and a few other new features.
Drinks still on the menu include the Umberto Bangington, a moreish combination of Woodford Reserve bourbon, carrot shrub and olive brine caramel served over a block of ice which I enjoyed at the official launch this week. As well as using seasonal and foraged ingredients, the bar continues to specialise in making its own fermented aperitifs, for serving by the glass and bottle or for adding a unique element to classic and original cocktails.
The move has allowed Matt to create a new basement den called Gold Tooth, open on Fridays and Saturdays till 1am, which showcases drinks from his kegged cocktail company, with four cocktails on tap including a June Bug and a coffee-infused scotch and soda. While upstairs is light and airy with a Skandi-style simplicity, downstairs is more urban with graffiti and striking artwork by London-based artist The Rugman.
Scout now also has a kitchen, allowing the team to build on being awarded the title of bar food menu of the year at the 2018 Class Bar Awards. Aiming to make food more of a focus alongside the drinks, Matt has brought on board a pastry chef who was previously at the two Michelin-star restaurant Hélène Darroze at The Connaught in London’s Mayfair.
“Great Eastern Street has been great for Scout, and it will always be a part of the bar’s story,” Matt says. “However, the re-location to Hackney allows us to enhance and better our offering even more with a larger space and a fully equipped kitchen.”
Scout, 224 Graham Road, London, E8 1BP
Tel: 020 8985 5128