Mystery bar number 36
Okay, last week's mystery bar was way too easy: it's Electric Avenue in Courtenay Place, which has just opened in the two storey building vacated by Saffron last year. Most bars go for a stealthy approach when they're under renovation, keeping their windows papered over until the opening, but Electric Avenue took the unusual approach of actually displaying architectural plans and sketches, so we all had a fair idea of how it would look when it opened. So, now we have an Eighties bar: hooray.
Today's mystery bar doesn't have as explicit a theme as that, though its food is mostly from a specific part of the world. They've done a reasonably good job of making a potentially sterile space feel quite homely, and while the furnishings are very basic, they're turning that into a virtue by emphasising their casual, unpretentious attitude. This is emphasised by the soundtrack: while they play a bit of the usual "downbeat" compilations, they also play some of the rarer blues, gospel and jazz tracks that inspired them.
It's still evolving as a bar, and they didn't seem quite organised enough for me to attempt a Martini. They will be serving some cocktails in carafes, which could be a major drawcard, and while they have only a very basic winelist, they serve a couple of beers that are slightly out of the ordinary. Generally, though, I get the impression that they're expecting their main point of difference to be their hearty late-night snacks, and that'll make a nice change from the usual kebabs and burgers!