Table talk: Prop up the bar with sustainable cocktails and secondhand vinyl at FAM
Looking for a sustainable cocktail in London? FAM's friendly approach means it's an excellent bar in central London and eco-friendly on top. We pop by and check it out.
Wed 17 Jul 2019
London’s not short on cocktails that think about their carbon emissions but if you’re after a decent eco-friendly cocktail bar it’s hard to think of anything in the West End. Until now.
Sustainable cocktail bar FAM’s is not only next to Selfridges but it’s the antidote to the impersonal, a hip, friendly joint that feels more like Hackney than Oxford Street.
We popped round after work to test out the ethical cocktail list and locally sourced bar snacks and found a an ever so warm welcome.
A short snappy cocktail list is never a bad thing. Forget the tinctures, dust, clouds and candy floss held on with a wooden peg and at FAM’s eco-friendly bar embrace a grown up list of modern drinks that pack a punch, served up in secondhand glassware to add to their green credentials.
FAM’s famous margaritas are served in tumblers, with plenty of ice and a side of thyme. Its signature serve is made with an inhouse blend of tequilas, house citrus and Devon flower honey. The Sir Duke takes London made vodka and mixes it with nettle cordial, Bloomsbury pastis, kiwi berries and that house citrus mix again. There are a couple of mocktails, a considered craft beer list and decent wines that won’t break the bank.
FAM is all about creature comforts and that extends to the bar snack menu. Think gooey cheese and ham toasties, perfect serve chips and dip and warming soups for winter. FAM feeds its people before a shift, the entire team sits down for a proper (family) meal together and anything leftover each day is donated to a homeless charity.
FAM stands for family and that’s the approach that cocktail maestro Megs Miller and her bar staff take to this tiny corner of prime Zone 1 London real estate. Everyone’s family and everyone’s welcome.
It’s the kind of place a single gal or guy can prop up the bar and make new friends, or pop in for a quick post work friend catch up and end up drinking cocktails and dancing on tables til it closes.
FAM’s more like wandering into a 70s American den, complete with family photos and vinyl lining the walls than drinking in the West End.
FAM hosts regular themed party nights too that support charities and causes close to the bar’s heart. For International Women’s Day, the male bar staff worked for free and dedicated their wages to charity, while the female bar staff partied the night away.
Image You might be lucky enough to meet the in-house dashund, Derek
The sustainability bit
FAM’s a great bar in its own right. But it’s under the radar commitment to being a low impact, sustainable bar is where things get interesting.
Inspired by Trash Tiki (click here to read our interview with the roving zero waste bar team here) and manager Meg’s ambassadorship with Altos Tequila (click here to read our feature on how this kind of tequila making is pretty sustainable), FAM’s team have invested time and money into creating short, plastic free supply chains, a seasonal cocktail list that needs little garnishing, with fresh ingredients picked up from Borough Market.
Nothing new was purchased for the retro feel design of this tiny hideaway. All of the furnishings were rescued from Sunbury Antiques Market out In Kempton Park, the sound system is almost twice as old as most people behind the bar and even its cult vinyl collection (which you can select to play) has been rescued from charity shops.
It has even invested in a next generation glass crusher which minimises waste and transporting old bottles and broken glasses.
When to visit FAM?
It’s safe to say that FAM is a friendly haven away from the overcrowded streets of Oxford Street and Bond Street, and if you’re not into high street purchasing, then hide away in FAM until your friends and family have finished. You’ll find a warm welcome at any time.
Open Tues-Saturday, 4pm-late (Saturdays 2pm-late).
Where is FAM?
Find FAM cocktail bar on the corner of Duke Street and Picton Place, opposite Selfridges or click the Google Map link here.
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