May 2017: We’re so sad to see this awesome bar has closed. Hopefully it’s temporary and the team will be back creating their crafty cocktails soon.
I’m going to open with a statement: Three Six Six Battersea is unequivocally and undisputedly by far the best bar we’ve ever been to.
I can say that with 100% confidence. I know there will never be another bar like it in all of London, ever. You should go. If you’ve been, you’ll know why. If you haven’t, I pity you missing out on one of the best experiences, friendliest bars, and most delicious cocktails ever. Go now.
So, let’s be honest, a cocktail is a cocktail is a cocktail. I’m not a huge drinks connoisseur. I know what I like and I know what I don’t and that’s as far as I go.
Coupled with that, there are thousands of bars across the city, some of which we love, some of which we’re not massively impressed with.
But there is nothing – NOTHING – like Three Six Six and their concept. Honestly, no experience I’ve ever had comes close to the cocktails and devotion of the staff in this small little drinkery on St John’s Hill.
Glowing words indeed, and our first ten out of ten review since we launched three years ago.
Why such high praise?
Why should you drop everything – EVERYTHING – and pay them a visit?
Three Six Six Battersea review: the location, and the concept
Located in deep, dark south London, where many of us north-types fear to tread, Three Six Six is a short stroll from the joy that is Clapham Junction, a mere five minute stroll away. On a small little street corner, overlooked by gorgeous houses and small local business, sits Three Six Six. Their sister bar in Earlsfield is their flagship, and after enjoying raging success with their cocktail creations, Three Six Six Battersea was born.
When the team got in touch (Three Six Six meets Six out of Ten, oh how numerical) to see if we’d be interested in trying a few of their signature creations, we weren’t that enthused about making the trek. But after arranging a lovely lunch at Source we thought we’d stop by.
Whet ensued was a masterclass in cocktail creativity and drinks that would be right out of the oh-so-eccentric minds of a Heston Blumenthal crossed with Tim Burton type. Far from eccentric, Eduardo de la Mora, who co-owns the bars with his brother and an ex-rugby player, was delighted to showcase the best of what they have to offer, from crickets to *ahem* sex toys.
The team had recently decided to change their logo, opting for a butterfly which lives on a diet of nectar – completely appropriate considering their expertise is in their drinks – and transforms from a drab caterpillar into something beautiful. Taking old, standard cocktails and bringing them to life with colour and taste is what they’re all about. Each cocktail fits into one of our five taste zones; sweet, salty, sour, bitter and umami.
Three Six Six Battersea review: the decor
It’s grandma’s house meets soho fetish club. With a sofa I’m pretty sure my parents had when they were first married thirty years ago, and curtains out of an episode of Only Fools and Horses, these guys see what they like and roll with it. Nudes and fetish photography grace the walls next to colourful butterfly cut outs. It’s eclectic and a really welcoming environment.
The loo walls are papered with magazine pages from Cosmo, Vogue, and other vintage adverts. There is only one bathroom for the ladies and one for men, so be aware if you’re one of those who waits until the last minute and then somehow decides a one-piece playsuit is suitable attire for a night out before wrangling it apart like a demented person in a straight jacket. A, er, friend, had that problem.
Three Six Six Battersea review: the cocktails
Usually we’d rave about decor, but really, who cares what the bar looks like when you’re handed a newspaper menu and given an introduction to the zany concept. The team offer experimental cocktails during the week and a pared down menu at the weekends, still with many crazy options and choices (but we can’t wait to get down and dirty with some of their midweek cocktails, more on that below).
Eduardo asked us what we liked, to start. What cocktails we usually go for, what flavours we like, what we don’t enjoy and the evening went from there. Starting with something simple to ease us in, we chose an English Garden and a El Cabezon, before moving through the five taste sensations.
The presentation of each cocktail was immediately what got our attention, served with pink and white pick ‘n’ mix wrapping and a gorgeous flower in bloom. Even the ice is a spectacle, carved into squares to perfectly fit the glass, so rather than crushed ice watering down the flavour, which is always annoying, it doesn’t impair the flavour.
We had no idea these cocktails would be relatively normal compared to what we were about to experience.
After sipping away, Eduardo asked us if we could taste the celery in the English Garden, before explaining that all the tinctures, syrups, and juices are made in-house. If they can’t get their hands on it, they won’t serve it. We were shown a fresh batch of hibiscus syrup which was made earlier in the day, and were suitably impressed when we heard how they manage to infuse everything from Latex for their fetish cocktails, to ham, tobacco, chipotle and artichoke.
Moving on to their Organic range, which is Fair Trade and Certified Organic, Eduardo handed us an oyster shell, with what looked like caviar and a glass of rose cordial and scotch. Can you believe this wasn’t caviar? No, it was balsamic vinegar somehow crafted into pearls, which pop with a burst of flavour when eaten. Imagine drinking a sip of cocktail and following it with a pearl!
The Carrot and Nettle Martini was also delicious, served with alfalfa seed dressing which should be eaten, but really, how can anything compare to balsamic pearls?
Our favourites of the night were the Iberico and Truffle Old Fashioned, which takes roughly a day to create, and the Calahua, a coconut creation with a stick of cinnamon hidden in the milky glass. It was divine. David loved the strong flavours of his drink and we sat in awe as Eduardo explained how they got Iberico ham into a cocktail.
Oh, and also Earth, which is served – I kid you not – in a red bell pepper. It was DELICIOUS and so innovative. The pepper can be chewed on to get the most of the flavour; vodka, vanilla and chilli. It’s nothing I’d ever usually go for, but Eduardo knows his drinks, and he knows what people like.
Oh, oh, and another favourite, the Crunchy Cricket, which, much like its eponymous name, is served with an edible, crunchy, salty cricket. Memories of eating insects from the street sellers in Bangkok meant I loved this one… squeamish David? Not so much! Crickets chewed, lychee, lime and applewood washed the salty Tennessee insects away.
Another noteworthy, you-gotta-try-this, is the Parmesan and Strawberry. Fat-washed Parmesan is infused with strawberry rum, chipotle syrup, and chipotle bitters. Can you believe that? It sounds hideous, and I will admit we were totally freaked out by the concept. Not to mention the glass comes served with what looks like a Parmesan dusting (it’s just coconut powder), but it was delicious – who else would think of such a combinations of ingredients?
Tito’s Drink, complete with hundreds and thousands and a bow tie was a mix of banana, hibiscus and orange, a really creamy concoction.
I’ve also recently started getting into my beetroot, after years of being put off by a sour beetroot and garlic dip Greek forced upon me by an ex’s mother at every opportunity. But the 50’s Shaker, served in a sugar shaker, was a lot of fun and great way to end our taste journey.
The only cocktail we weren’t that entertained by – because each cocktail is like it was created by the hands of Willy Wonka’s insane mind in itself – was the Japanese Parsley Smash, purely as it seemed so normal compared to what we’d had. How can a drink served with ice and parsley compare with sipping chilli syrup from a pepper? Or eating insects off a vine leaf? Or drinking cheese and berries? Or a ham-infused cocktail? Or popping balsamic pearls in your mouth?
By the time the evening was drawing to a close, the bar was packed with couples on dates, parties and locals stopping by for their evening tipple. It’s a local bar at heart, even with it’s eclectic menu.
Three Six Six Battersea review: off menu
The cocktails we tried gave a great all-round experience of the new menu. But there are others which we can’t wait to sample: the Golden Shower for couples only where apparently umbrellas are needed, the Fox Plug, served with a, er, set of anal beads attached to a fluffy fox tail, The Cocktail With No Name, and the Gag Ball. Each cocktail is designed to inspire and excite, and we can’t wait to try them out.
Three Six Six Battersea review: our thoughts
I’m absolutely gutted this place isn’t nearer to us, but as its popularity grows Eduardo and his team – made up of friends, family and in-laws – will look to expand their reach even further. I tried to convince him Essex was the next logical step, but we’ll see.
What we loved, along with the gorgeous cocktails and crazy recipes we’d been subjected to, was Eduardo’s genuine passion for his trade. He didn’t start in bars, and really, him and his team have learnt as they’ve gone along. But that passion is what made our night one of the best we’ve had in a decade, at least. Every question we asked about the menu had an answer. To our whys when we asked about his pairings and ingredients, he gave a humble, ‘why not?’
We absolutely loved the experience. So much so, we’re heading back in a week’s time for a special event and can’t wait to bring our friends along to experience Eduardo’s creations. It’s a great place, with great staff and cocktails you won’t get anywhere else.
As much as I’ve gushed about our new favourite bar, pricing is very much London standard. Out of towners might feel cocktails starting at £9 are a bit steep, but it’s totally in line with bars such as Rev JW Simpson. And we completely realise and understand why they’re keeping up with other little indie bars, given how some cocktails take days in the making and hours in their creation. Personally, I expected cocktails of such calibre to be at least £13-15 a go, so we were pleasantly surprised.
Gushing over. Almost 2,000 words written, and I still don’t feel we’ve done this place justice. Everything I’ve written is black and white. But the experience is what it’s all about. The excitement of not knowing what’s coming next is enough to turn any dull evening into something special. Knowing their menu will change soon means we’ll need to come back to see what seasonal cocktails have been added.
We had a fantastic time and felt like regulars from the moment we settled into the comfy sofa. It’s where you’ll want to go for your first date, because there won’t be any awkward silences when you’re chewing on crickets, your other half for a midweek drink, or all your friends for a quirky night out.
Eduardo and his team are the types to give everyone a warm welcome and it’s clear from eavesdropping over the conversations staff were having with a part of ten girls who walked in, they’ll go out of their way to make your night exceptional.
They’re award winners with good reason, and as we love independent, local business, we’ll be giving Three Six Six our support in taking their brand as far as it can go (*cough* Essex *cough*)
We can’t thank him enough for inviting us along, and we’re counting down the days to our special event in September!
Get there126 St John's Hill, Battersea, London SW11 1SL
020 3538 2250