Mystery bar number 37
As Simon and Stephen worked out, the previous mystery bar was Sweet Mother's Kitchen, in the strange little space on Courtenay Place where Cinta Malaysia was until very recently. As their coffee supplier says, they are more of a café than a bar, though they intend to open later and later as they gradually work their way into the swing of things, and to my mind any place that serves Margaritas by the carafe definitely counts as a bar. I may, however, regret trying their chili beer.
On the other hand, this week's mystery bar is definitely a bar. It's still trying to cover a lot of markets, and while it's a little bit metro, it's more than a little retro. There's a lot of the stone wall detailing that's becoming rather over-familiar, a garish pool table, and plenty of self-conscious faux-rustic furniture. In contrast, there are elements that are relatively crisp and contemporary (as long as by "contemporary" you mean "circa 2002"), such as white leather cubes and colourful backlit bar shelves. It's as if it's trying to attract a blokey crowd but also wants to aim for chic and sophistication: it doesn't quite come off, but it's actually not a bad attempt.
Accordingly, there's a wide range of drinks on offer. Plenty of beer, of course; a predictable wine list; and a fairly comprehensive cocktail offering. This manages to generally avoid concoctions with "hilarious" "suggestive" names, and covers most of the classics while adding a few of their own. I stuck to my mission and opted for a Martini: the inexperienced bartender sensibly summoned expert help, and the results were very creditable indeed. It was a quiet night when we visited, no doubt due to the atrocious weather, and when this place is in full swing I wouldn't recommend ordering anything too involved. Nevertheless, if you're aiming to find an acceptable bar for a diverse bunch of people, this would be worth a try.