Peer over the bridge that crosses the canal at Granary Square today, and you’ll notice that a couple of lively little shacks have appeared, seemingly marooned on a little strip of grass at the water’s edge. You’ll likely spot gaggles of people too, who have descended the steps to have a rum old time, lounging about tucking in to fish finger sandwiches and sipping on a grog or two.
You’ve just discovered the Wood’s Navy Rum pop-up shack, currently serving up punchy cocktails from midday to midnight daily, mixed by the guys from Kentish Town’s leading toilet-based bar, Ladies & Gentlemen.
Right next door, a second shack is all about the seafood streetfood, with trays of fresh oysters, baby squid and a particularly striking vegetarian chickpea panisse bap, coming courtesy of local floating gastronomes London Shell Co.
Once the 57% proof rum has taken purchase of those inhibitions, the Ladies & Gents floating bar is moored up, ready to take smallish groups on a little pootle up the waterway, through the deceptively long Islington Tunnel into Hackney on the other side and back again.
There’s a bar on board (of course), with further Wood’s concoctions served as part of the boat ride ticket price. On our voyage this week, we learned about the 250-year-old wooden still at the distillery in Guyana that gives the rum it’s numerous flavours, and its classification as a ‘navy’ rum too. It sure is potent stuff, me hearties.
You can book the boat in advance (see below), or simply walk up and jump aboard the next available sailing. With plentiful oysters and stiff cocktails close at hand, simply lingering on the tow path to watch a sunset is pretty attractive too. It’s not quite the Caribbean, but it does feel like a mixed up little mini-holiday, away from the city hubbub down on the water.