8-9 Hoxton Square, London N1 6NU
By Alexander Barlow
Another solid year for Alastair Burgess’s consistently lovable, easy-going east London bar. And, two years in, the unabated bang-on-ness of sequel venue Original Sin up the road shows that Happiness Forgets was no flung-together fluke.
Both venues happily share the same uncontorted, unstuffy vibe – if some London bars are justifiably known to occasionally disappear up their own backsides with parody-ready complexity and silly gimmicks, well, not here. And not ever, promises Burgess, who reckons the success of his small empire is mostly down to one proof-point – service. And that’s it.
Innovation for innovation’s sake, he adds, has never been his thing. “The menu is always evolving. The team is always working on new stuff. And when the drink is ready, it goes on.” Wholesale reboots to court press or mine trends are, he adds, “just not our style. Our drinks have been, and will always be, classically styled – spirit, with sour, bitter or sweet modifier and a simple garnish”. Homemade ingredients are supplied but only when necessary and when they don’t stifle service. “Happiness Forgets has been built on consistent quality,” Burgess says. “That’s always been our goal.”
Two new venues in the next 18 months are in the works. No details yet. But that Burgess-ian mantra, we’re promised, will stay intact: “Great cocktails, no wallies.”