Saturday, 18 June 2011

42 and The Gin Joint: Have-a-laugh Cocktails and Serious Cocktails all within walking distance!

A few days ago I got a phone call from a friend claiming that 'gone are the days of Baba au Rum'. A bold statement indeed (you want to go about half way into this post to see what I'm talking about), but I wasn't shocked. I had already read about a place called 42 on Miss Ls' blog, who in turn saw it on Athens Daily Secret. I calmly answered back, with a smug note and the air of someone who is ahead of the times (or a smart arse), "Oh you must mean that place '42' where that barman who worked at both Baba au Rum and Guru used to work". Obviously I was forwarding what I had read on Miss Ls blog. I wasn't prepared for the answer. "No, I was talking about The Gin Joint". We both paused, knowing that it wasn't going to be an early night.

First we arrived at 42:

The Entrance

An entrance? More like a gateway: to another galaxy! As in 'the answer lies within'. If you can't tell where I'm going with this it's because you haven't heard about the epic comedy by Douglas Adams, The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. I quote from Wikipedia:

In The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (published in 1979), the characters visit the legendary planet Magrathea, home to the now-collapsed planet-building industry, and meet Slartibartfast, a planetary coastline designer who was responsible for the fjords of Norway. Through archival recordings, he relates the story of a race of hyper-intelligent pan-dimensional beings who built a computer named Deep Thought to calculate the Answer to the Ultimate Question of Life, the Universe, and Everything. When the answer was revealed to be 42, Deep Thought had predicted that another computer, more powerful than itself would be made and designed by it to calculate the question for the answer. 

Inside: wooden flour boards, low lighting, very welcoming. Like an English pub, but with the practically totally open façade, its different. In a nice way of course!

We sat outside, at the far end, almost under the building that was towering above us. Big mistake! The pigeons sitting on the windowsills many flours above us had no notion of 'appropriate public behaviour'. After two near misses, we promptly moved. 

We started looking through the menu which was shaped like a fan, made of plastic and sturdy as such. I'd go as far as to say it was a fan, or designed to be used as one. Perfect for the hot summer nights in the city centre!

A little message on the fan read (more or less), 'If you can't find something you like, come to the bar, introduce yourself to the barman and talk to him about yourself. Tell him your sign, if you prefer the sea or the mountain, what you usually like to drink etc. etc. Armed with his 'hereditary gift', he'll make you exactly what you wanted and didn't know about. If he makes something you don't like, we promise to punish him severely and make you another drink'.

Message on the Menu

After taking our time with the menu, we went for the 'Trouble', the 'Pan Galactic Gargle Blaster' and the third one I can't remember for sure, but I believe it was the 'Sherry Cobler'.

An inexcusably amount of time later (given the place was empty when we went), we got our drinks.

Sherry Cobler

Tarragon, orange, sherry and bitters. I heard no complains from the friend that got this one, and he was also impressed by the carvings on the glass (you can faintly see them if you look closely at the full size picture).

Pan Galactic Gargle Blaster

Strawberries, basil, raspberries, vodka and pepper. My friend that was having this complained that the basil and pepper didn't really come through, and that the drink was weird just for the sake of it. I think the waiting had got to him!


Watermelon, ginger, chilli and a double of tequila. I had this one so I can tell you what I thought of it. It was nice. Not the 'last drink before I die' nice that I get with the 'Sonic Boom' at Baba au Rum, but I didn't have any complains.


Now these babies were sweet! The green ones had a wasabi-ish heat to them. I could have had a bowl of them all to myself!

No time to chat, next stop, the Gin Joint which was practically just around the corner!

The last place was named after a comedy, this one after a classic romantic drama. Talk about opposite ends of the spectrum! And if you don't know which one I'm talking about, that would be Casablanca, and Humphrey Bogart famous line "Of all the gin joints in all the towns in all the world, she walks into mine".

The Menu

I really enjoyed the menu at the Gin Joint. It starts with a story about how prohibition of alcohol in the United States in  the 1920s resulted in a large array of illegal underground bars and numerous cocktails to go with them. Most, if not all, of the cocktails on the menu were accompanied with the story of their origin. It almost makes one nostalgic of a time they never even got to know!

We sat outside (though the slant of the pavement didn't make things easy!). To be honest now I can't remember what my friends ordered, but I did get pictures anyway. I ordered a Tommy's Margarita.

You can tell how much the table was slanting by level of the drink in the glass!

Tommy's Margarita.

I was surprised my Tommy's Margarita wasn't served in a tall glass and that it was served with ice. None the less, I tried it and found it had exactly the same taste as the one I had a few days ago at Baba au Rum. It was a slightly bitter taste that confused me because of the Agave Syrup which should be present in a Tommy's Margarita. My friend explained that, though many argue against it, a 'Reposado' tequila is used to make a 'better quality' drink. This sort of tequila has been aged a minimum of two months, but less than a year in oak barrels. That taste I was getting was from the oak barrel. Soon as he'd told me, I connected the dots and verified that the taste I was getting was an oaky one.

We drank our drinks and agreed that this was a serious place and had it not been a weak day and had the hunger not kicked in, we would have happily tried more of the drinks on the menu!

Read more about The Gin Joint on Athimorama

I think the bottom line on trying these two places is that, the opening of Baba au Rum in the area has sparked the opening of more serious cocktail bars all of which are at least on the same league - it was about time!

View Serious Cocktail Bars in a larger map


  1. You seem to have a very refined palate George.. :) Loved the article (especially the slanting level of the drink at the GinJoint)!

  2. Cheers Em! You won't think my palate is that refined when you find out where we went to eat after the drinks ;)... and about the slant... seriously... my back was facing downhill (it felt more like down-mountain), and I was sat on one of the tall stools... I was holding onto the windowsill in fear of toppling backwards! (and yes, I could have just stood, but I'm a lazy bugger!)

  3. Hahaha, sounds like fun though..! :D Am hoping to FINALLY get to Baba au Rum tonight! Looking forward to a break from exam studying. Fingers crossed. Keep up the good work! ;)

  4. Aww... fingered crossed indeed and good luck with your exams! And with respect to study breaks, I always used to follow the 'Enough's not Enough rule': If you feel you've had enough to drink, then that's a sign of consciousness so surely you haven't had enough to drink! :P. Hope you get your break and have fun with it!

  5. Thank you!! :) Lol, I usually go for "enough's not enough" as regarding studying itself :S (yes, you can see the perfectionism pouring out of my ears) but will follow your advice today! ;) Hope I don't get into trouble, haha! :P Will post soon if success.

  6. Em! No new posts I see. Possible causes:

    1) Didn't end up going out
    2) Perfectionist in you is hard at work
    3) Went out, got into allot of trouble and don't remember much of it ;)

    I vote for No. 3 :P

  7. Γεια σας. Gargle, όχι gargie είναι το blaster :)

  8. Ευχαριστώ για την διόρθωση!

  9. Lol, George, unfortunately it was number 2...! (And mayyyybe a little of number 3, but I'm not telling, heehee) ;)


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