Smoking in London without freezing to death is something hard to come by these days, but this little gem has brought us an alternative.
Upon reaching the website for Olssons ‘Garlic and Shots’ you will be met with this lovely greeting:
“No dishes are served without garlic. You can always order extra garlic, but never less. As you leave the restaurant you should feel like you’ve been garlic marinated. This is our mission from god” A mission from god it may be, but I’m not sure how happy god would really be with this place.
Olssons “Garlic and Shots” is a lovely little bar in Soho. Located on Frith street, and it really does do exactly what it says on the tin- Garlic and shots. The bar has 101 different vodka based shots and their own signature shot is a take on a Bloody Mary, with garlic of course. As every dish is also served with garlic it’s a somewhat lethal place to be.
However, Garlic and Shots is really the last place you should think about going to eat at. You should not ruin your experience by being tempted by any garlic mushrooms or even the olives. This place is a heavy metal bar, with tattooed staff and rude managers. The attitude they give you is the attitude you can give back or deal with.
Downstairs you will find an almost dungeon like bar. There are tables to drink at and usually a few men in suits that don’t fit in. Feel free to shout abuse at them; they won’t hear you over the blaring heavy metal music. And don’t even try to order a drink upstairs, they’ll send you straight down.
The real gem at this place though is the smoking area. And what a beautiful smoking area it is. It’s all heaters and over-head cover, and as a smoker it makes me want to cackle just thinking about it.
There are few places left in London where you can comfortably sit down outside in wind, rain or snow and have a cigarette as you drink. But this, ladies and gentlemen is exactly that place. There is nothing particularly special about this dedicated area for smokers, apart from the fact that it is exists, and it definitely is dedicated.
A bottle of wine is reasonably priced here, so you can feel free to wallow in your miniature pint glass of wine and smoke the night away. Although there are some ridiculous people hanging around here, there really is a mix of people.
Here you will find the usual student tourist, lured in by the promise of 101 vodka-based shots, and the couple that complains about the service but was enticed by the mere promise of garlic. However, the real regulars lurk downstairs, lapping up the music and adding to the general vibe of the garlic and shots persona.
Although, I would not and could not endure the loud basement or any of the 101 vodka-based shots, apart from the Bloody Mary style special, the smoking garden is enough to entice me on any night.
Calling all smokers, this will be your favourite place to go, because no one is pushing you into the rain to suffer and moan, you can merely enjoy your favourite tipple and a comfortable puff on a cigarette.