In November 2017 Lock and Load in West End reopened as a slick, upmarket gin bar, Covent Garden. It stocks more than 130 varieties of gin.
A boom in Australian gin is down to having a country full of flora to play with. And some of these plants and herbs can be found at the bar and restaurant’s little native garden adjoining the fairy-light-illuminated courtyard. The overwhelming feeling here is of lushness – not only from the plants growing out back but those curling around the light fixtures and stencilled on the back bar, the menus and even the bathroom ceiling.
The food menu focuses on modern share plates – tasters of tender squid, chicken terrine with pickles; bigger meals of lamb shoulder with yoghurt and lemon myrtle, or pork cheek, sherry and nashi pear.
The bar is fully stocked with your other favourite spirits, wines and a selection of beers on tap, but gin is the star here. Look out for the tags on each bottle that tell the bartender which kind of tonic and garnish goes best with that gin when you order it in the elaborate “Spanish style”. Don’t worry, traditionalists – you can still get a classic G&T with any of the gins for a bit less cash.