Event review: Street Cocktails launch at Matthews Yard, Friday 5th June

By - Tuesday 16th June, 2015

Total renegade cocktailing. Porn star potions. Lauren Furey brings you the uncensored truth

My curiosity had been aroused when I first heard that Street Cocktails was setting up shop in Croydon’s beloved Matthews Yard. An entertaining Youtube video had gone out in the run-up to the event, on Friday 5th June, featuring its own Matthew Lisle running past local landmarks to the accompaniment of the Rocky theme tune, and promising ‘total renegade cocktailing’.

Personally, Friday couldn’t have come any sooner. After a lacklustre week, my friends and I descended on Matthews Yard with anticipation. The beautiful early June sunshine had created a balmy evening and scores of patrons were gathered outside, sipping their interesting cocktails. Inside, things were getting lively. BRGR & BEER was enjoying its continued success. Hot burgers and fries rushed through the walkway onto hungry tables and into happy faces. The new addition to this familiar sight was the long queue winding through the middle of the room, for a Street Cocktail.

The most visually intriguing of these cocktails was undoubtedly the one served in the tennis ball can – the Gin Henman (geddit?!). In fact, the entire drinks’ menu was a tongue-in-cheek take on the cocktail experience. The rum cocktails contained Ron de Jeremy Rum (yes, that Ron Jeremy) and the Ron Crongo quickly became my favourite drink. The other options included warped takes on familiar favourites and crazy new creations, most notably ‘A Shot in the Dark’ – pink fizz, Del Maguay Mescal, Campari, thyme syrup, lemon juice and grapefruit zest! Street Cocktails pushes boundaries and gets creative in its quest to bring something new to urban drinking and the crowd was completely on board.

Photo author’s own.

What’s also made these crazy cocktails so endearing was the use of familiar and unconventional soft drinks: Um Bongo, Dr Pepper, cans of Banana Nourishment and Ting! Even better was how pleasantly surprised everyone was by the prices. A typical cocktail bar could look to charge, on average, anything from £8 for a drink but Street Cocktails isn’t typical and at just £5 a pop, customers didn’t feel limited in their options.

The gents behind Street Cocktails are absolute jokers. They clearly adore what they do and they don’t just do it with a smile, they do it with a dance. Aside from the team behind the counter churning out drink after drink after drink, they had DJs at the back of the room, feeding the venue with good vibes. The mood was tangible: everyone was smiling and most were up and dancing.

Its Facebook event page confirmed that Friday’s would be the first in a series of monthly parties and it was a huge success. The atmosphere summed up what a Friday night is all about – being among good friends, enjoying a couple… a few… several… okay, many drinks and dancing ’til the music ends. It was genuinely a really lovely experience and something that feels like it’s been missing from Croydon for quite some time.

The most fun I’ve had in Croydon in a long time

The evening was a testament to the positive investments that these entrepreneurs have made in Croydon. Matthews Yard has created a lively and inclusive platform for a range of activities and events, covering everything from life drawing to live comedy. The inclusion of BRGR & BEER a couple of months ago gave us a quality burger venue that also supplies a spectacular range of local and imported beers. Now, Street Cocktails has stepped up and delivered in a big way.

In all honesty, Friday night was the most fun I’ve had in Croydon in a long time. My recent piece for the Citizen, about Croydon’s dwindling and disappointing nightlife, called for something different – something to shake things up a bit. Street Cocktails did just that and so long as it continues to bring on the drinks and the dancing, I’ll be a lifelong fan.

Lauren Furey

Lauren Furey

I was born in Croydon in 1988 and I've spent my life here, building friendships and experiences that have shaped me as a person. As a Croydon native, I have a big passion for local events, arts, history and culture... and the dearly departed Mexway. I now work as a freelance writer.

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  • Patrick Blewer

    I’ve lived in the Croydon / Sutton area since 1982 when my parents came back with me as a baby. Grew up in a lot of the places you mention in the 90′s (and others in Sutton). I don’t doubt that the area needs a wider range of places open late. However, I do remember both Croydon and Sutton in the mid-late 90′s as being pretty violent places where you had to be VERY aware of who was around you in a way I’m not sure is still the case.