‘The best drink I’ve ever had was a mojito in St. Barts at Nikki Beach. That drink changed my life’ – Sarah Carter
Never let it be said that I’m not traditional. Or a creature of habit. Or a fan of change. And whereas I may not be the most reliable person in the world there are 3 things about me that you can always depend on; I will always have an umbrella, I’m surprisingly useful on a pub quiz team and I will always want to go to Evil Eye Lounge for cocktails if I’m in York.
Located in central Stonegate and hidden behind their specialist gin shop, Evil Eye is one of York’s quirkiest bars, over three floors and stocked to the rafters with pretty much every spirit you can imagine. In fact their downstairs bar area is an exact replica of what I will install in my mansion in Darras Hall when I make my first million from reviewing pubs of the North.
Although the décor is a mish mash of retro, hippy, Moroccan chic, it’s without a doubt the extensive cocktail menu that’s the draw for us and every time we visit a lethal game of cocktail roulette ensues. Sadly Evil Eye has changed their menu recently and although I never did the maths; I have the feeling it’s been condensed a little bit. In games of yore the rules were simple; close your eyes and wait for someone to shout stop. Where your finger lay was the cocktail you had to order. The only veto option available was that if it contained a pre declared veto ingredient*, in which case you could pick again.
Since the menu appears to have been on a diet recently, this method didn’t work too well any more so we counted up the cocktails in the menu (a grand total of 108 – which is still a hefty sum) and used Google’s random number generator to decide our fate.
The best thing about cocktail roulette? You get to sample things you probably wouldn’t normally go for, like the delightful Dame Judi (Mozart white choc, cariel vodka, crème de cacao, baileys, raspberries and cream) which was like angel delight in a glass. The worse thing about cocktail roulette? Some of them are minging. Like The Verve (Hendricks gin, mandarin napoleon, green chartreuse, grapefruit, bitters and lemon) which Steph had in round 2. But hey, you win some, you lose some.
At averaging around £7.50 per cocktail it’s not the cheapest afternoon in the world although obviously you can get a pint of beer or glass of wine too should you wish. It seemed to us that Evil Eye has had a bit of an upgrade recently, probably due to the fact that a video of their gin shop at the front went a bit viral on Facey earlier in the year. However the draw for us was always the fact it was always a little dingy, a little grotty, a little rough around the edges – which used to create a better atmosphere and set it apart from all the other prices pretentious bars it seems impossible to escape these days *cough*the Botanist*cough. Now I worry it’s going exactly the same way as those bars, trying to be too much and losing a bit of the charm that made it so amazing in the first place.
That said, for the sheer randomness of not knowing what the heck is going to be hoyed down your gullet next, it’s still as a good a place for a game of cocktail roulette as any. And I’m sure we’ll be back for another game soon.
*mine is banana liquor – which is in a surprising amount of things!