The Vanguard is a beautiful space situated on the third floor above the equally as unique 1000 Trades bar, on Frederick Street in the Jewellery Quarter.
Think industrial, New York loft style, contemporary, minimal with old metal windows which allow natural light to bath the interior – it’s a place you can escape to, especially if you’ve been unfortunate enough to experience the horrors of a stag party on the roof terrace and flat lager in The Button Factory – The Vanguard is something really special. Let’s hope we see more places like The Vanguard and 1000 Trades in the JQ and keep Broad Street for rowdy gangs of lads on the piss.
Sam makes a great host and grafts his ass off front of house, supported by a team of busy helpers. The bar is very small and people who work well together push orders to a crowd of happy drinkers with their creations. I overheard him tell someone he used to be an award-winning professional ballet dancer, not sure if this is a joke but I can also imagine it’s true anyway he also handled calmly and professionally.
All cocktails look great, colorful and attractive, each complete with a Studio Ghibli character on top.
I went through the list:
- Ponyo – Nikka Gin – Yuzu – Bubbles
- Howl’s Moving Castle – Calvados, Umeshu, Lemon
- My Neighbour Totoro – Nikka Gin, Cantaloupe Melon, Watermelon, Cucumber
- Princess Mononoke – Whisky, Cinnamon, Caramelised Banana, Smoke
- Spirited Away – Vodka, Asian Pear, Apple, Lemon
The taste for each cocktail is delicate and delicious, each compliments the other, some sweeter than the others, some are crisp, and really worth enjoying. Sam and his team really know their tools and how to present artworks that match great flavors, plus great and lovely people enjoying the bar service and you There is an experience 10/10 right at the center of this historic neighborhood.
Just to add authenticity, there were Japanese snacks too. Nori (Seaweed) Rice Crackers, Red Bean Paste Mochi and Green Tea biscuits plus some tiny sugary sweets that reminded me of that 1980s craze ‘nerdz’.
In all a brilliantly curated experience, topped off with a swig of Port. Of course, you can visit The Vanguard for their wide selection of spirits and Mead drinks any time, the Mead beer is superb by the way. Will be back with reinforcements soon. Watch out for their next event and make sure you go..